PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Viareggio is one of Tuscany’s most important beach resorts, offering sun-seekers more than six miles of sandy beachfront, and plenty of culture too.
The long ribbon of gold-sand beach is said to be one of Italy’s finest, and is frequented by well-to-do Italians and holidaymakers drawn by the traditional beach scene. Make sure you take part in the passeggiata – the evening social walk where families, couples and other locals take to the promenade to burn some calories before dinner.
When it comes to seeing the region’s sights, Viareggio comes up trumps again, with Pisa just a 25-minute drive away. Known around the world for its infamous Leaning Tower, Pisa has a surprisingly atmospheric side that few manage to discover, packed with authentic restaurants and pretty piazzas.
Viareggio is home to the Carnevale di Viareggio – one of the world’s longest-running and best-established carnivals, held between February and March each year. First established back in 1873, the parade nowadays is bigger and better than ever, with television stations broadcasting footage and thousands flocking to see the colourful floats and entertainment.
Most visitors to Viareggio head straight for the sandy beach. And with good reason – you can take your pick from an army of sunloungers or sip an Aperol spritz at a sea-view beach bar. Meanwhile, families can head for the trampolines and pools of the sand-side park.
Prefer to go back to basics? La Lecciona Beach scrolls out from the south side of the port. Just follow the boardwalks over the protected dunes – and remember to pack a picnic and parasol.
The town centre of Viareggio stretches out behind the main beach. This crosshatch of palm-lined boulevards is easy to navigate, rolling past modern art galleries and museums dedicated to the inspired floats of Viareggio Carnival.
Keep your eyes peeled for Art Nouveau buildings, too. The 19th-century Villa Argentina is a prime example, but even if you just wander the streets you’ll spy restaurants and hotels decorated with elaborate paintings, scrolling stonework and mosaicked roofs.