The Versilia in northern Tuscany is one of the most known “Riviera” in Italy and Europe. It is here that, during the second half of the 1800s, the first bath establishments were born. In addition, there are other interesting things to do in Versilia, even outside the summer season, thanks to the mild climate and numerous attractions.

I put together all the things to do in Versilia so if you decide to visit this area during your Tuscan holidays, this post is right for you.

Versilia on the map

The territory includes the seaside but also the close mountains of the Apuan Alps. Only four municipalities constitute the Versilia Storica: Forte dei Marmi and Pietrasanta for the coast, and Stazzema and Seravezza for the alpine district (also called Alta Versilia). Today we use to consider even other municipalities as part of Versilia: Viareggio, Massarosa, and Camaiore.

15 Things to Do in Versilia

Relax at the Beach

During summertime, you cannot miss a couple of days of relaxation under the sun of Versilia. There are many bath establishments for all budgets where you can rent a beach cabana, sun beds for the day, and have a nice lunch at the restaurants. Instead, if you like a wild and free beach, we suggest the Lecciona beach in Viareggio. Read our special post about the beaches of Versilia and Apuan Riviera here.

beach Viareggio Versilia tuscany

Shopping in Forte dei Marmi

Forte dei Marmi is a nice upscale seaside resort well-known in Italy and abroad for its boutiques, good restaurants, and bars. Every Wednesday morning (and Sunday during summer), the rounded Piazza Marconi hosts the Forte dei Marmi market, where you can make great deals buying good quality clothes (especially cashmere) and furniture for your house.

Forte dei Marmi main road Tuscany

Take a walk in the artistic town of Pietrasanta

Pietrasanta is a lovely town at the foot of the Apuan Alps famous worldwide for the processing of marble and bronze. It is called the Little Athens of Italy because artists such as Botero and Mitoraj decided to work and live here. Along its streets, you will find foundries, marble and mosaic workshops, art galleries, nice bars, and restaurants.

View of Pietrasanta

Discover a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The village of Seravezza, one of the municipalities of the Versilia Storica, was used by the Medici Family as a place for their summer vacations. For this reason, they decided to build a big residence that today hosts a library and temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. The Palazzo Mediceo was included in 2013 in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Tuscany together with the other Medici Villas scattered all over the region.

Palazzo Mediceo Seravezza Tuscany

Learn more about the ancient Romans at the Archaeological site

Along the eastern bank of Massaciuccoli Lake, you find the archaeological area of Massaciuccoli Romana, where expert and passionate archaeologists will bring you back to the time of Romans discovering the ruins of an ancient summer residence of the Venulei, a rich family from Pisa. Nearby, you can even stop for birdwatching and a walk along the wooden paths over the lake of the Natural Oasis of Massaciuccoli.

archaeological site of Massaciuccoli Romana

Go to the Opera

If you like classical music, at the opposite shore of the lake, the open-air theatre of Torre del Lago hosts the Puccini Festival. The festival takes place every July and August in honor of the great Maestro Giacomo Puccini who spent here most of his life. Famous international singers and conductors perform the main Operas as La Bohéme, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot. You can even visit the villa museum of Puccini.

Torre del lago Puccini Festival

Hike along alpine tracks

As the background of the coast, there are the Apuan Alps with the highest peaks of Tuscany. The natural park of the Apuans Alps is part of the Global Geopark Network of UNESCO. Here you have the opportunity to hike along panoramic tracks that bring on to the top of the mountains where the view of the flatland and the sea is breathtaking.

Pania della Croce Garfagnana Mountains

Explore the underground of the Apuan Alps

The Corchia Underground is the biggest complex of karst caves and galleries in Italy. Only a few km from the beach, a two km well-equipped path allows visitors to go deep into the heart of the mountain reaching the Stalactites Gallery and the Fossil Forest. Moreover, you can visit the old quicksilver mines learning how hard was the work of the miners. For more information click here on the official website.

Antro del Corchia Gallery

Taste the traditional cuisine

Versilia means also traditional food. Being along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the fish is the king of the table. But meat is the main ingredient of many dishes too. Here is a list of food that I suggest you to taste:

  • Tordelli is a kind of ravioli stuffed with a mix of different meats and herbs.
  • Scarpaccia, a vegetable savoury pie from Camaiore.
  • A crunchy Frittura di pesce, a mix of fresh fry-fish.
  • Sparnocchi (kind of prawns) with beans from Viareggio
  • Caciucco is the traditional soup with fish, seafood, and bread from Viareggio.
  • Risotto or Pasta or spelt of Garfagnana with seafood and seasonal vegetables.
  • The delicious cold cuts of Gombitelli, a little village up on the mountains.
  • Have a Merenda snack with a slice of Cecìna, the chickpea flatbread typical of Liguria and Tuscany.
Tordelli Filu

Discover the little villages up in the mountains

Driving up on the mountains there are also nice villages to discover. The village of Monteggiori is one of those. Tiny and quiet on top of the hill, it seems to go back in the past with its houses made of bricks, no cars, and many cats that calmly go around along the narrow alleys. From the terrace of the restaurant “Le Tre Terrazze”, the view of the coast is amazing, especially at sunset.

Monteggiori the arch

Viareggio and its famous Carnival

The city of Viareggio is Carnival. In Italy, it is also famous for its wide sandy beaches. But their inhabitants have a deep and strong passion for the Carnival. Every February the biggest floats of Europe parade along the seaside promenade attracting thousands of adults and children with masks and confetti. Do not miss to try Cenci, traditional yummy pastries of Carnival.

Carnevale di Viareggio

Take a daily tour of the close cities of Lucca and Pisa

Another of the things to do in Versilia is a daily tour of Lucca and Pisa. They only are 30 minutes away. You can visit both of them in a day or dedicate a day each to explore even the fewer tourist spots. Every year, at the end of October Lucca also hosts the second greatest comics festival in the world.

Guinigi Tower Lucca, one the best-known places in Tuscany

Feel like a sculptor at the white marble quarries

Driving a little up along the coast you reach the city of Carrara, known worldwide for the production and processing of marble, where you can visit the nice old city center and the unique scenery of the white marble quarries.

Studio Nicoli Carrara Tuscany

Go back to the Middle Ages visiting a castle

In the northern part of Tuscany at the border with Liguria, there is the Lunigiana. This wild land has beautiful nature and great food with specialties such as Testaroli and Sgabei. We also call it the Land of Hundred Castles. You can imagine the reason. The closest manor that you can visit coming from Versilia is the Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo.

Fosdinovo castle view Tuscany

Enjoy the amazing landscapes of Cinque Terre and the northern neighbors of Tuscany

Last but not least, another thing to do in Versilia is to get a ferry to the Cinque Terre. There are daily departures from Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi to reach the Natural park of Cinque Terre. The itinerary by boat also includes a visit to the charming fishermen’s village of Portovenere. After that, you will reach Cinque Terre, the five colored villages that everyone wishes to visit once in their life.

Cinque Terre Manarola

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