Sea holidays Tuscany Set in versilia Viareggio Forte dei Marmi fascinating residential area Mediterranean sea Riviera of Versilia beach closest to Florence Tyrrhenian coast pisan coast Coast of the etruscans Maremma area Island of Elba Capraia island Coast outside tuscany ligurian coast Levante Riviera Beach services: bathing establishments
Tuscany has all sorts of coastlines – beaches good for lounging and socializing, beaches good for listening to the wind, coves that make for wonderful diving, and marshlands (if you'd rather be birding). Tuscany's coastline begins at Bocca di Magra, the mouth of the Magra River. This is a quick north-south rundown of some of the beach towns (and their beaches, if I've been to them):
- Marina di Massa: The construction of Carrara's port has interrupted the flow of sand south from the Magra, and the beaches are thin. However, the town is bustling, with lots of hotels, and if you have a car this is a good base from which to visit Pietrasanta, or the Lunigiana, with its ethnographic museum. Or see the Lizzatura, a reenactment of how they got the marble down from the quarries
- Forte dei Marmi: Wide beaches and elegant bathing establishments. The coastal scenes of The English Patient were filmed here, and the town is posh, with exclusive boutiques and fine restaurants. This is where Florentines come to spend the weekend, though during the week it's deserted until August. Lots of hotels.
- Viareggio: Very wide beaches, was once the winter home of the Czars. Some sections are very elegant, and others somewhat run-down. Lots of nightlife, however, and dynamic. Also has a good small craft port, and lots of hotels; during the winter there's the Carnevale.
- Lido di Camaiore is really a place in the lead, in fact, thanks also to its particular peculiarities, is one of the most qualified touristic locality in Europe. This wonderful place has over four kilometres of very thin sand and it's been one of the most renowned lido in Italy since the first years of the twentieeth century. The first was the Poet himself, Gabriele D'Annunzio to choose such a place in order to satisfy his passion for the actress Eleonora Duse. After the II Warld War, the great boom began, and the lido became the favourity destination of the great national and international tourism. Nowadays, the beach of such a splendid Versilian place, is one of the most privileged summer destination, too. How can it be otherwise, since the comforts it can offer its visitors thanks also to the renowned bathing establishments
- Torre del Lago Genteel, has a turn-of-the-century feel to it. Is sandwiched between Lake Massaciuccoli and the sea, which makes it more humid. However, nice beaches (family oriented), and hosts the Puccini festival every summer – out-door operas on the lawn of Puccini's summer home.
- Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia: Not familiar with this section, which hosts the mouth of the Arno, and the Camp Darby NATO base (US troops). The beaches are sandy, but that's all I know.
- Livorno is a port city. Continuing south the coastline becomes rocky, with lots of bays and coves that are fun to snorkel in when the water's calm. When it's rough, on the other hand, you sun where the spray from the waves can cool you off (this is an excellent way to REALLY burn). There's a fine restaurant at Calafuria, called La Torre di Calafuria, which is famous for its cacciucco, a spicy fish stew.
- Rosignano Solvay the site of a bicarbonate manufacturer; has spectacularly white beaches with very fine sand (byproducts of making bicarbonate). The perfect place to work seriously on your tan.
- Marina di Cecina: Rocky coast, and that's all I know.
- Marina di Castagneto di Donoratico: Nice beaches. There is also a large amusement park, which was hokey when I last went in 1982, but has been rebuilt and looks like it would be a great place to take a toddler. The town also has a Club Med, which is geared towards family vacations (as opposed to singles).
- San Vincenzo: Another family-oriented resort town, with wide beaches, lots of hotels, and not much in the way of nightlife. The sort of place that the parents of teenagers will appreciate. The town also has Il Gambero Rosso, one of Italy's best restaurants. Lots of campgrounds between San Vincenzo and Baratti.
- Baratti: A little cove below the promontory of Populonia. Wonderful water, calm even when the sea is rough, with Etruscan ruins nearby, and a medieval fortress up above. A great place to rent a small boat and go exploring, with wrecks and such for divers. It's not far from San Silvestro, a fascinating mining town.
- Piombino The port that most people pass through on their way to Elba. It's also the town Napoleon gave his sister, who devoted considerable energy to transforming it into a small jem. The newer industrial section has blast furnaces that used to light the night sky, but now considerably more energy is being devoted to tourism than once was. There are some nice beaches, and beautiful coves.
- Elba: Spectacular, and in retrospect Napoleon was a fool to leave (he ended up at Waterloo). Beautiful coastline, with wonderful diving, lots of hotels and campgrounds, hiking in the mountains and more.
- Il Golfo di Follonica Also known as Il Golfo del Sole (the sunlit gulf) because it rarely rains. Nice flat beaches, though built up and touristy. Family oriented; Follonica is where the Sienese go for the weekend.
- Punta Ala: Beautiful beaches, a nice small craft port, golf, and more. In a word, Exclusive. This section is also known as the Argentario.
- Castiglione Della Pescaia Pretty resort town, with beautiful rocky coastline, ideally suited for snorkeling. The perfect place to rent a boat.
- Marina di Grosseto Wide sandy beaches, quiet, with lots of hotels and such. Quiet & family oriented, perfect for small children.
- Parco dell'Uccellina South of Grosseto, wild empty beaches where you can be one with nature. Indeed, it's a nature preserve, and accommodations are in old farmhouses and such. A nice place to spend an alternative weekend; some nude beaches.
- Porto Santo Stefano Orbeterllo Port'Ercole A promontory formed by a small island that is joined to the coast by two barrier beaches. Sunning along the beaches, and fantastic diving along the seaward coast of the promontory. Perfect for boats, with two small-craft ports. Lots of hotels and places to stay, though very exclusive – has the summer home of the King of Belgium, and is a favorite spot for wealthy Romans.
I know nothing about Lazio's beaches, save for Lido di Ostia, which is rather like Coney Island.
A few practical considerations:
- Every town has hotels, and many will be listed on the Net. Most also have campgrounds.
- Depending upon the type of vacation you want, you can either take your towel and head for the beach, or go to a bagno, or bathing establishment, which will rent you an umbrella, chairs and a cot (excellent for broiling). Prices of bagni vary from minimal to ruinously expensive, and almost every town will have a wide selection; ask your hotel who they suggest (they my have their own bagno).
- Though bagni can keep you from spreading your towel between their umbrellas, they cannot deny you access to the swash zone (where the waves run up) – in other words, you can walk by the commercial establishments on the way to the free beach, which every town has.
A final, very important consideration: BATHING SUITS. There are some nude beaches, especially in the Parco dell'Uccellina, but most Tuscan towns would rather that people keep their bottoms on. Tops are another matter – if a woman wants to bare her breasts (on the beach), she's free to do so. However, toplessness is nowhere near as popular as it was in the early 80s, perhaps because today's lasses have discovered that by revealing less they leave a lot more to the imagination.
The coastal region of Tuscany stretches from the northern area dominated by Pisa to the southern area of Grosseto and the historic Isola d'Elba where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled until his last stand at Waterloo. A few spots to consider touring when staying in this area are as follows. One seldom thinks of the Mediterranean with its great boating, fishing, sun tans and beach activity when considering a vacation in Tuscany. For others the coastal area of Tuscany is an entirely different site to discover. The waters are clean and a perfect temperature for swimming; the beaches clean and manicured, unlike many of its American counterparts.
The coastal area of Tuscany is the ideal seaside retreat for a restful, romantic and regenerating vacation.
Tuscany with its archipelago is a terribly fascinating destination for all sea lovers. Tour around uneven terrains, discover beaches and bays, villages and ancient rocks.
One seldom thinks of Tuscany with its great boating, fishing and beach activities when considering a vacation on the Mediterranean.
uscany's coasts are entirely to explore, here you can find one of the best beaches in italy. Many Europeans stay exclusively on the coast when visiting Tuscany: the water is clear, the beaches clean and the temperature is perfect for swimming.
The light sea breeze guides sailing enthusiasts to discover small bays which lie north of the port of Marina di Carrara.
From Viareggio to the Gulf of Poets, the northern part of Tuscany is flanked by the long sandy beaches of the Versilia, up to the border with Liguria, where, in the Cinque Terre, the shape of the coast becomes rocky offering a haven for diving enthusiasts. The sea which washes the coast of Tuscany has all the advantages of the Mediterranean Sea. It is ideal for windsurfing, water-skiing and other water sports.
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