Viareggio, Versilia Coast
Viareggio main street in mid summer. The beach is just to the right.
| Next, Sperlonga beach
Viareggio in Tuscany is more famous for its Carnival procession (aka Mardi Gras or Carnevale) - one of Europe's best - than its beaches but nevertheless shares in the lengthy stretch of soft brown sand that coats this coast of Italy, known by locals as the Versilia coast. Viareggio is the most southerly town of the Italian Riviera. Northwest Italy Coast Map
Viareggio is on a coastal train line from Genoa to Rome. It's also not far off the A12 autostrada that comes from the France. The nearest airport is Pisa, 15 miles (24kms) away.
The promenade is full of beach shops, cafés, bars and restaurants and is the place to fulfil the grand Italian tradition of an evening passeggiata, a walk to meet, greet, watch and wiggle. This photo was taken before the evening's passeggiata really started.
A plush and pricey beachside bathing complex with huts, swimming pool and more.
Viareggio beach backed by a couple of historic Art Nouveau hotels. Next, Sperlonga beach.
Beach quality, the sea and facilities at Viareggio are more-or-less identical to the neighbours, Camaiore and Forte dei Marmi, though the promenade is an improvement, wider and more relaxed. We're not sure of the availability of free beach zones (spiaggi libere) here.
The bugcrew were very impressed by the style of Viareggio's coastal buildings and relaxed promenade but disappointed by the town's interior which was quite shabby and uninteresting, though the Pineta di Ponente pine forest park a couple of blocks off the beach is a great escape from the merciless Tuscan sun and Piazza Shelley town square honours the famous British poet Percey Shelley who drowned offshore here in 1822.
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