The popular seaside resort of Viareggio is the Riviera’s largest town and offers long stretches of golden sands and plenty of Liberty-style buildings and Art Nouveau architecture. Spend your days at the beach, and the shops and cafés lining the seafront promenade, before joining in the town’s vibrant evening passegiata. Escape the sun in Pineta di Ponente’s large pinewood park or cycle along the edge of the forest to Villa Puccini – the ancient residence of renowned composer Giacomo Puccini – in its pretty lakeside setting on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli. Check the Puccini festival calendar for dates throughout July and August when spectacular operas are held at the edge of Torre del Lago in the Parco della Musica’s open-air amphitheatre. The city’s Mardi Gras carnival which takes place over five Sundays throughout February and March is another huge draw and one of the best festivals in Italy.
Viaregggio is a great base for exploring the medieval walled city of Lucca and the ancient town of Pietrasanta, famed for its marble workshops. For a little bit of luxe, head to Forte dei Marmi for stylish beach vibes, designer shops and renowned seafood restaurants. Come on a Wednesday morning for the exclusive market at Piazza Guglielmo Marconi where you’ll find luxury brands, cashmere and leather goods on sale.
Where is the Tuscan Riviera?
You’ll find the Tuscan Riviera north of Pisa and west of Lucca, in northern Tuscany on the Versilia Coast.
With most of your time spent at the beach, there’s not much need for public transport. Most of the sights can be reached by foot or you can hire bicycles to explore further afield, be it Torre de Lago or Pineta di Ponente. Taxi or bus will take you to Forte dei Marmi and on to Pietrasanta.
Food & drink
Summer brings light and fresh dishes by day and more intricate seafood menus by night. Make sure to have lunch at Puccini’s favourite – Café Margherita - and book dinner at Michelin starred Il Piccolo Principe at Grand Hotel Principe Di Piemonte. Expect excellent pasta and pizza dishes at local trattorias away from Viareggio’s promenade and fantastic water’s edge restaurants in Forte dei Marmi.
GMT +1 hour
2 hours to Pisa or Genoa