Versilia: From the Beach to the
Mountains, Discover the Unexpected
Tuscany this Summer
This summer we are drawn to the Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia. This region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea with its long golden shore which runs parallel to a dramatic mountain backdrop. This rich contrasting scenery is completely different to what you might expect to find in other regions of Tuscany. It is a unique mix of natural and artistic beauty with endless activities to keep you entertained all week long.
Versilia’s history dates back to the end of 1800 when international aristocracy chose it as a destination for their holidays. Latterly even a young John F Kennedy came to Versilia as his fiancée was studying in nearby Florence. They both soaked up the Riviera’s cosmopolitan spirit and effortless style that they had admired from the other side of the world.
We will cover some of the most famous attractions of this area, from the exclusive beach resorts, trekking in the Mountains and dazzling evenings listening to opera by the lake.
Forte Dei Marmi: Experience Italian ‘Dolcevita’
Forte Dei Marmi is among the most exclusive Italian holiday destinations, favoured for unique designer boutiques, refined restaurants and elegant villas.
Versilia is famous for its splendid beaches which cover 20 km, where the water is clean and the colour is deep blue. You can choose between sandy beaches equipped with reputable lido establishments and contrasting romantic bays that are mostly wild and solitary.
Forte’s coastal shelf is sandy, sloping gradually into the Ligurian Sea, and is guarded by the imposing Apuan Alps, which are world famous for their quarries and for the white Carrara marble.
Party hard at one of the numerous beachside clubs which have become Italian institution since the resort’s founding in the 1960s. Our preference is La Capannina which translates as ‘the Shed’, which it may have been once but is far from that now.
Stay: Locanda al Colle a boutique hotel which has all the Italian charm you would expect but with well curated contemporary artworks.
Apuan Alps: Trekking in the Mountains
Take a break from swimming in the sparkling blue waters by trekking in the Apuan Alps. Here the hills have been quarried since the Roman times. The legendary Carrara quarry is still active producing the famous white marble from which Michelangelo carved “David”. The Campolongi firm is one of the few remaining Italian family businesses that still finishes stone on site to the highest standard.
Instead of the standard group tours around these amazing stone cathedrals we prefer to drive up to the surrounding hills and discover the area by one of the many well signposted CAI trails. You will be amazed by the stunning scenery and incredible vistas from the peaks of Tosco Emiliano to the National Park of Peace of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.
PIETRASANTA : ‘Passeggiata’ of Contemporary Art
Pietrasanta grew to importance during the 15th century, mainly due to its connection with the marble but is now famous for its arty inhabitants. The streets, the churches, and squares have become art galleries open late. The place is now famous for the most delightful and cultured ‘passeggiata’ in Tuscany. A particular architectural jewel is the Medici palace in Seravezza which has alternating shows throughout the year, and is also a World Heritage Site.
The sunrise and sunset are two magical moments in Versilia and there is a place that knows how to bring out the best light and colour: the banks of the Massaciuccoli Lake.
Each summer the magic of Puccini drifts across the lake, and you can rent one of the many historical villas which surround the water: this amazing setting with its humble inhabitants was his inspiration. Attending an opera at the Puccini Festival is an experience like no other, putting you in touch directly with the composer. Today his house is a museum which remains unchanged since his death in 1924. The magnificent open-air theatre is accessed by a bridge over the lake. For truly romantic experience you can enjoy dinner pre-perfomance.