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Smell the ocean air and feel the salt on your skin. Let the blue waters overwhelm your senses and feast your eyes on the horizon line. Take in the immense beauty of the Apuan Alps. All around, a summer full of cycling, sunsets from the jetty, coffee at the Garden, and long stretches of sand characterize the baths of Forte dei Marmi. For years, Versilia has enchanted generations of bon vivants, and to this day they have no intention of stopping.
There’s Jerry Calà in Capannina and, if you’re lucky, Bocelli all’Alpemare, where tradition remain unchanged. The charms of the golden years have never left the Forte, where you can still find nostalgic people regretting their lost poker games at the Principe Bar, or jet-setters appreciating the sophisticated elegance that surrounds them. As you drive along the highway, all it takes is a glimpse of the “Versilia” exit sign to get into that relaxed and carefree mood that distinguishes those who choose to spend their holidays here.
Summer is inching closer and closer. There are those who unofficially move to the Tuscan beaches from June to September, and those who spend a weekend there and fall madly in love with it. Enjoy the ”tastes of the sea” and follow our advice. From the first moment you feel the sand under your feet to the dawn of the next day, we are here to guide you through glamorous Versilia to discover an authentic Italian holiday destination with a cult following!
Tuscan hospitality combined with international luxury
Photo credit © Augustus Hotel & Resort – Villa Franca
In Versilia there are the jewels of the Italian hotel industry, created for a demanding clientele. Immersed in nature or with an oceanfront view, they all guarantee a relaxing stay. L’Hotel Augustus has two main structures, Villa Pesenti and La Nave, along with seven villas, enclosed in a park of rare natural beauty. It offers ideal stops throughout your day, including a swimming pool, spa, and fitness center, while ending at the hotel restaurant, Il Bambaissa. At L’Hotel Principe, there are 28 rooms each with a one-of-a-kind design, where light filters gently through them, enhancing the marble elements of the place. Guests can count on the Egoista Spa, a multi-sensory wellness center, to awaken the senses through cutting-edge treatments. There are three restaurants to dine at , including the Michelin-starred Lux Lucis, but not before indulging in a toast at the 67 Sky Lounge Bar on the hotel’s lofty panoramic terrace. Villa Grey is intended to be a “buen retiro” for guests. Located in a skillfully restored twentieth century villa, it holds the timeless charm of what has been lovingly preserved. The welcoming atmosphere and hospitality also extends to the brand new Il Parco restaurant, located in the greenhouse.
The day begins with your feet in the sand
Photo credit © Augustus Beach Club – La spiaggia
There are beaches everywhere in Italy, but at the Forte you go to the baths. While there are umbrellas that are difficult to open all over Italy, in Versilia there are tents where you can sunbathe on the (often king size) tanning beds. L’Augustus Beach Club has been a guarantee for this experience since 1969 and is dressed in a new Alchemist Botanical Club-style for the season, which deserves to be discovered. Here, you can enjoy the tent suites adorned with soft colors that echo the landscape, as if to establish harmony with their surroundings. Needless to say, they are waiting to give you a unique experience. Then there is Bagno Dalmazia, a historic bathing establishment founded in the 1950s near the Capannina that still maintains the style of that era. You go to the Alpemare with the hope of meeting Bocelli, but just in case he is absent (which is justified considering his schedule), the comforts of this place satisfy even the most demanding of customers. A beautiful pine forest welcomes vacationers and opens up to a patch of cabins, all equipped with Internet connection. Il Bagno Annetta is a way of life, as the sweet Versilia lifestyle is captured in the shade of its (distant) tents and the events that animate the evenings. At Twiga Beach Club, the proximity to the sea and the swimming pool complicates your relaxation choice, while the oriental setting ensures an unforgettable stay in the name of luxurious entertainment. And if you’re looking for that must-have party vibe that seems to loom along the coast, head to Marina di Pietrasanta for Nikki Beach. A cocktail by the pool while the sun sets has never sounded so good.
Shop windows filled with unmistakable Versilia style
In this little town full of Italian fashion, some of the luxury names you can find are Balenciaga, Dolce&Gabbana, and Prada. But then there is the Made in Italy market, with authentic, quality-made leather goods, cashmere, household linens, and ceramics, which are displayed in an open-air boutique every Wednesday at Piazza Marconi. If you’d like to do some research on where to find the most beautiful swimsuits worn in the baths, we already know the answer. Bikinis and one-piece swimsuits can be purchased from the renowned swim shop Glamour in Rose. And anyone who frequents the Forte knows that flip flops are only worn when it is absolutelyu necessary. The shoes for every other time of day are by Volponi, a historic brand of Versilia fashion, with four outlet stores in town. Fiacchini combines Alaia, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, and many other fashion pioneers in a distinctly luxurious space. It is a multi-brand luxury shop with a multitude of souls inhabiting it, with one eye on the big names of high fashion and the other on new talent. A fashion ideal that mitigates the severed ties between urban and posh lies at Morini. They blend Dior with Diesel and Philipp Plein with Celine, developing audacious combinations that have found success in the local markets. However, going to Pietrasanta shouldn’t just be for a shopping trip; it is the city of artists, galleries, and beautiful exhibitions. Walking through the streets will make you feel like you’re strolling through a workshop en plein air.
A gastronomic itinerary: from cappuccino to amaro
Photo credit © Riviera Lounge Club Bistrot
Extreme relaxation and a clear schedule before 11:00 are the hallmarks that characterize breakfast in Forte dei Marmi. This morning ritual takes place slowly and without stress. Recharging your batteries in anticipation of a day on the shore is essential. Meet at Giardino for the first coffee of the day, accompanied by a croissant or fresh fruit salad. Caffè Sambo has been the backdrop for Versilia’s evolution from 1968 to the present day, and has no intention of stopping; its outdoor terrace and wooden chairs hold the town’s history. Caffè Principe exudes tradition and elegance, transporting one back to the ’60s where countless poker games were played on its tables. For breakfast, you can count on sweet pastries, fresh croissants, and sfogliatine.
For lunch at the seaside resorts, there are always two sides: there are those who devote themselves scrupulously to tanning and therefore prefer lighter fare, such as a salad or fruit plate, and those who wouldn’t miss a good lunch for the world. We stand with the latter. The restaurants at the Forte dei Marmi baths are all of quality, but for those who want to explore, albeit a few meters away, our choice is the chic and bright il Gilda, where the pure taste of Versilia is elegantly served. Then, there is Pesce Baracca, a fish market and gastronomy dedicated to tapas and stir fry with an oceanfront view, a decidedly innovative concept for a town so tied to tradition! And for stuffed scones? Nelson Club is the answer. A bistro on the fashion strip, their lunch break is based on fresh pasta and salads served in a bread basket.
Dinner is the most awaited moment of the day, when the alluring Versilia nightlife begins to take shape. Il Riviera, a lounge club and bistro just a few steps from the sea, has the uproarious years of the Forte in its DNA. Arranged on two floors, it pays homage to the stars of the stage and screen who have decreed this resort as the most glamorous Italian holiday destination. The catch of the day is always fresh with a refined mise en place. The menu features a flawless encounter between both the land and the sea, otherwise known as the head and the heart of Tuscan cuisine, with traditional Versilia plates, such as spaghetti with clams, and the tagliata di scottona. On the wine list, numerous champagnes bear a striking presence on the large menu. We found it difficult to refrain from making a toast under the stars.
The Fratellini’s was born out of a love of organic agriculture and sustainability, yet every definition of this place feels inadequate. On the menu, sushi is prepared exclusively with local raw fish, accompanied by traditional first and second courses from Versilia (although we couldn’t ignore the Asian fusion appetizers!).
Pizza is one of the most beloved dishes of the Italians, as well as the one we here discuss the most. You might be surprised to hear that in a seaside town renowned for its fish, one of the most popular restaurants is a pizzeria. Bocconcino is a delicious pizza establishment enhanched by unusual combinations, including stuffed focaccine, crostoni, and seafood.
Tireless and glamorous, the soul of Versilia is revealed at night
Photo credit © Riviera Lounge Club Bistrot
The nightlife at Forte dei Marmi is fascinating. As the sun sets, the local clubs compete to illuminate the night sky of Versilia. With nights you wish would never end, sunrises from the pier, freshly baked scones, and then finally off to bed, who knows what other surprises will be in store the next day!
The second soul of Riviera comes to the fore when, after dinner, the music changes and the lights dim. The bistro turns into a lounge bar, the champagne on ice reaches the tables, and people start to ask for the hookah. The atmosphere is perfect, as the music seems to interpret the emotions of those who sit on the sofas. If there was a word that could blend chill out and party, it would be the perfect definition for Riviera.
For the nostalgic, the place to be is La Capannina di Franceschi. In 1929, a beach hut and a gramophone became Forte dei Marmi’s most iconic nightclub. Live music, entertainment, and high-profile guests make La Capannina a must for Tuscan summers!
The Seven Apples in Marina di Pietrasanta was the first disco in Versilia to introduce vinyl, and since 1971, it has never stopped innovating. Chosen by Greta Garbo during a holiday in Versilia, it is still chosen today by the young people who spend their summer here.
In Cinquale, another club makes headlines: il Beach, with its location on the shore and internationally renowned DJs who liven up the nights, has found a permanent spot on the list of the most popular clubs in Versilia.
Photo credit Cover Picture © Augustus Beach Club – Piscina