This region in northern Tuscany basically has everything you could want in a vacation destination. It has beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountains, historic old villages and posh modern resort towns. Whether you want to immerse yourself in history and culture or you want to relax and unwind on the beach, Versilia has just what you’re looking for. Plus, of course, you’ll find no shortage of delicious food in this beloved region of Italy.
I have traveled to Italy many times over the course of my life, but for some reason I had never made it to the beautiful Tuscan region of Versilia–until recently, that is. During a recent summer trip to Italy, I made a last-minute decision to avoid major cities like Rome and Florence, both of which I had already visited, and instead explore a new part of Italy. So I pulled up my HotelTonight app on my phone and searched for a great last-minute hotel in Versilia. Within minutes, I had a fantastic hotel room booked right by the beach, and I was ready to start my Tuscan adventure.
If you’re a beach lover like I am (and who doesn’t love great beaches?), you’re going to fall head over heels for the Apuan Riviera. With the dramatic Apuan Alps as a backdrop, a long, wide stretch of beach sprawls out along the coast, and this area has been dubbed the Apuan Riviera. Just in this area alone, there are hundreds of beach resorts and bath establishments, where you can find plenty of sun beds and umbrellas to rent, as well as cafes and even bars. Since I wanted to soak up some of that Tuscan sunshine during my first day in Versilia, I rented a chaise lounge for a few hours, opened the umbrella, and read a book on this gorgeous Apuan beach.
This coastal town is one of Italy’s more popular beach towns, and it’s especially popular among affluent Italians and Eastern Europeans. This pretty beach town offers plenty of charm, delicious food and natural beauty, so it’s no wonder why so many people travel from all over Europe in the summer months to wander its quaint streets and swim in the Mediterranean. Since I had already gotten my beach fix for the day, I decided to spend my time in Forte dei Marmi exploring the pretty streets of the town. I quickly discovered that Forte dei Marmi is a shopper’s paradise, as its streets are filled with boutiques and high-end fashion stores. Even if you aren’t trying to buy a new wardrobe, though, this popular Italian resort town is worth a visit for the beauty, the charm, and the infectious energy.
There’s a reason why Pietrasanta has been nicknamed, “Little Athens”–this Tuscan town has attracted some of Italy’s most famous artists, including Botero and Mitoraj. These artists were drawn to the area’s incredible natural materials, and even today Pietrasanta is famous for processing high-quality marble and bronze. Here, you’ll find majestic marble churches and old sculptures strewn throughout the town. You can experience the unique Pietrasanta in just a few hours, and it’s just a quick trip away from many of Versilia’s coastal towns.
While they may not be as tall or as striking as the French or Swiss Alps, the Apuan Alps are still magnificent. The Apuan Alps are part of the Global Geopark Network of the UNESCO, and they’re very popular among hikers and adventurers. I decided to take a leisurely afternoon hike throughout the Alps, and my hike ended with a stunning view of Tuscany and the Mediterranean. If you don’t want to hike up the mountains, you can always journey into the heart of the mountains at the Corchia Underground, Italy’s biggest complex of karst caves.
If you want to do as the Italians do, you need to make a trip to Viareggio. This beach town provides a slice of authentic Italian life during the summer months, when vacationing Italians grab their swimsuits and rolls out their towels on the sand. In addition to the crowded beaches of Viareggio, this town has a lively promenade and some high-end resorts, and the city is definitely worth visiting if you want to enjoy the energy and excitement of one of Tuscany’s most popular beach towns.
Prior to visiting Versilia, I didn’t know much about this region in Tuscany. All I knew is that I had never been disappointed by a town or city in Italy, and fortunately, I loved Versilia just as much as other parts of the country. Versilia’s unique, diverse region is full of beauty and natural wonder, which is why it’s so beloved among Italians (as well as visitors from all over Europe). Now that I know just how enchanting Versilia is, I just may plan a return trip to this Tuscan region in the future, and you can bet that I’ll book my last-minute Versilia hotel through HotelTonight.