When you think of Tuscany your mind goes immediately to romantic rolling hills, fascinating villages, and cities full of art. But Tuscany is much more. The region has also more than 400 km, 250 miles, of coastline. From Versilia & Apuan Riviera in the north to the Argentario in the south, many are opportunities for sea lovers.
The water is clean mostly everywhere and in many places, its color is deep blue. Depending on what you like the most, you can choose between romantic bays and rocky beaches, wide sandy beaches, wild solitary beaches or equipped beach establishments, dog-friendly beaches, nudist beaches, beaches for younger or families with kids.
Finding the best beach is not easy because everyone has their own preferences and needs. This is the reason why we create a full guide of the beaches in Tuscany in three parts, each one corresponding to a different area of the Tuscan Coast.
In this article, let’s start this journey to discover the shores of Tuscany from the north, from the beaches of Versilia & Apuan Riviera.
Viareggio, Versilia & Apuan Riviera
If you favor the facilities and comfort of a bathing establishment and a vast choice of hotels, restaurants, and bars, your place is Northern Tuscany in the Apuan Riviera and Versilia.
The northern part of the Tuscan coast has a wide and long beach that goes from Marina di Carrara to Torre del Lago Puccini. The Apuan Alps as a backdrop make this are unique. Hundreds of bath establishments cover the seaside. Only a few are free beaches. So, if you like facilities like sunbeds and umbrellas, hot showers and changing rooms, bars, and restaurants, you are in the right place.
The Blue Flag Award
The water is clean and clear even if, due to strong currents and the crowd, it looks a bit murky in July and August. As an award for high environmental standards and the quality of tourist services, many towns received the blue flag by the FEE, the foundation for Environmental Education.
Versilia in the past
During the ’60s, Versilia was one of the most famous in Tuscany and Italy for the summer holidays, especially for its glamorous nightlife. Its history dates back to the end of 1800 when the international aristocracy, diplomacy, and businessmen chose Versilia as the destination of their holidays. Even a young John Fitzgerald Kennedy came to Versilia when he was 22 and his fiancées was a student in Florence. Also, other International stars such as Edith Piaf, Paul Anka, and Ray Charles came to Versilia for concerts and shows.
Today is not as famous as in the past but few towns still attract tourists looking for fun and comforts. In my opinion, the beauty of this area is also the proximity to the mountains. You can admire the high profile of the mountains and the marble quarries directly from the beach, or while you are swimming in the sea,
The Main Beaches of Versilia & Apuan Riviera
Looking at the map of Tuscany, starting from the north, you find:
Marina di Carrara & Marina di Massa
Marina di Carrara is the coastal suburb of Carrara, the town famous all over the world for its white marble. Even Michelangelo chose this precious material to create some of his masterpieces like the Pietà or the David. Take a stroll around the touristic harbor where, in the morning, you met fishermen selling fish they’ve just caught.
Marina di Massa is the coastal district of the town of Massa where there is a magnificent castle that deserves a visit. The heart of the Marina is Piazza Betti every Friday hosts the street market. Don’t miss a walk on the pier, especially at sunset.
Both locations have the blue flag and offer a good choice of well equip bath establishments.
Forte dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi is the most exclusive destination on the coast. Luxurious and glam, Il Forte has an elegant downtown with boutiques, exclusive beach clubs, Michelin stars restaurants, fancy bars, and five stars hotels.
Pietrasanta, the little Athens of Italy, attracts tourists and artists from all over the world for its marble and bronze workshops and art exhibitions.
Marina di Pietrasanta & Lido di Camaiore
Marina di Pietrasanta and Lido di Camaiore are two of the main destinations of Versilia. Many are the beach clubs to choose from. Both places have a jetty that goes for meters over the water. You can enjoy a pleasant walk along the piers, especially at sunset. Lido di Camaiore’s jetty has a nice bar at the very end where you can have an aperitivo.
Beach at Viareggio
Viareggio is the biggest town in the area. It is super known in Italy for the Carnival, held each February. During summertime is very pleasant to walk along the promenade by the sea with many shops and bars and beautiful Art Deco-style buildings.
Torre del Lago Puccini – Gay Friendly
Another beach in Viareggio is Torre del Lago Puccini. It is known as the birthplace of the world-famous composer Giacomo Puccini. Along the shore of the Massaciuccoli Lake, an open-air theatre hosts every summer the opera Puccini festival. The seaside is also known to be a European gay vacation destination. Tourists from all over Europe come here for the beautiful seaside, well equip bath establishments, and a few clubs to enjoy the night.
The wild beach of Lecciona in Viareggio
The wild beach of Lecciona is the bigger free beach of Versilia. And the most beautiful. You find it between Viareggio and Torre del Lago Puccini. It is part of the natural park of Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli. There are no establishments here, only sand and pure nature. You have to walk at least 10/15 minutes through the pinewood and sand dunes to reach it. It is wide and long, never packed. The ideal place to relax away from the crowd.
Versilia, one of the best spots for Surfing in Italy
Lastly, you might not know that Versilia and Apuan Riviera are two of the best places for surfing in Italy. Along the jetty of Marina di Massa, Forte dei Marmi, and Marina di Pietrasanta, it is easy to find people in the water waiting for the best wave to surf.
- The Best Beaches in Tuscany
- Part II describes the rocky and pebbled beaches of the Etruscan Coast.
- Part III with the wild beaches of Southern Maremma.
- The treasure Islands of Tuscany if you wish to know more about the Tuscan archipelago.