The natural background to Versilia are the spectacular Apuan Alps, which owe their snow-white colour to the limestone formations rich with marbles.
The natural background to Versilia are the spectacular Apuan Alps, which owe their snow-white colour to the limestone formations rich with marbles. The quarries and the detritus look like sheets of snow. Michelangelo came here to personally choose the marble to be used for his most famous sculptures.
The Parco delle Alpi Apuane provides the backdrop to the blue sea and the beaches of Versilia, while the stretches of hills covered by olive trees and woods dominate the landscape of Garfagnana. The territory is home to numerous other wonders, from Lake Massaciuccoli to the thermal springs of Bagni di Lucca and the coastal dunes of the Migliarino-San Rossore-Massaciuccoli Natural Park.
Accommodation in this region include: Hotel Le Pleiadi, Hermitage Hotel & Resort, California Park, Hotel Byron, Hotel Bijou, Hotel Tiziana, Villa Barsanti, Versilia Palace, Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte, Grand Hotel Royal Viareggio, and Hotel Sina Astor Viareggio.
This coastal plain has the most spectacular back drop of the marble mountains of Carrara. The mountains glisten white, not with snow, but with the world’s most fabulous white marble. This is where Michelangelo came to select his marble for David. This the world’s finest white marble can even be found in Britain’s most famous stately homes such as Blenheim Palace.
We offer a range of very different hotels in some very different towns and resorts. We have the small family owned and run, 3 star le Pleiadi in Forte dei Marmi as well as 4 star hotels with their own private beaches, Forte dei Marmi is sophisticated with more villas for the wealthy than hotels. Andrea Bocelli lives here and the Agnelli family who own FIAT also have a home here. Conversely, Viareggio is lively, whilst the original medieval town of Pietrasanta is just a few KM inland.
This is the coastal stretch of Tuscany running north of Pisa. It has a spectacular backdrop of the marble mountains of the Apune Alps. These glisten white in the sun, but not from snow, but the world’s most beautiful white marble from Carrara. At the southern end we have wild life reserves, these are particularly for birds. The most famous of these is Massaciuccoli where Puccini built his home so that he could enjoy his days hunting. The lake is very large about the same size as the city of Pisa , but barely a few feet deep.
Puccini was born in nearby Lucca, where he studied music before moving to Milan and where his success began. He wanted to return to Tuscany and bought his home on the lake where he could entertain his friends. Today you can visit Puccini’s home and it is where he is buried. You can take a boat tour of the lake too, whilst enjoying a glass of Prosecco.
As we head north into Viareggio the first thing we see are the boat building yards, Viareggio is not only famous for being a seaside town but it is globally known for boat building, particularly some very expensive sailing boats at in excess of €1,000,000 a metre! Such as Perini and Benetti.
The resort of Viareggio has been a popular destination since Victorian times, originally the buildings were wooden but these were destroyed in a huge fire. Viareggio was re-built in the early 20th century and today most wonderful examples of art deco buildings can be seen from this period.
Viareggio is lively and bustling. You can take a catamaran here and go dolphin watching, sailing, and enjoying most water sports.
The next town north is Lido di Camaiore, a little quieter than Viareggio and a 4km beach, there is free parking here and all water sports are available for the more lively. Travel a short distance inland to the original town of Camaiore and you will see some splendid historical buildings.
Continuing our journey north we next arrive at Marina di Pietrasanta, we are entering the realms of the wealthier people, there are fewer hotels here and more villas, many are very expensive properties. Once more travel inland just a short distance to the original town of Pietrasanta, known as little Athens. It is a hedonistic artists paradise, known for its exhibitions of sculpture. Many of which change regularly. Michelangelo stayed here when he came to Carrara to select the marble for David. There are workshops here for artists where they can be helped with lessons in sculpture.
Forte dei Marmi is our next town and this screams elegance. Most expensive and beautiful villas, it is where Andrea Bocelli lives and where the Agnelli family who own FIAT spend summer. Henry Moore once had a studio in Forte dei Marmi and there is a Piazza dedicated to him with pieces of sculpture dedicated to his memory.
All of the beaches here in Versilia are simply exquisite, soft sand and deep. All of the shops here are designer, but as the local girls do not have that level of affordability, there is an enormous market held every Wednesday with excellent value for money clothes. Most ladies are in paradise here.
Luni is not well known but is definitely worth a visit. It spans the boarder of Tuscany with Liguria. It was once a bustling Roman sea port from where the marble of Carrara was shipped to places where there was Roman influence. After the fall of the Roman empire the port silted up over many years, but the historical remains can still be seen.
The marble quarries of Carrara can be visited in Land Rover Defenders, the drive up to the quarries is exciting and the machinery used is breath taking in size.
Another place to visit in these mountains, but a place of sadness is Sant’anna di Stazzemma. Here during world war 2 the Nazis massacred 560 people including 130 children the town is now a shrine to the memory of those killed so terribly.