Viareggio is the largest beach town in Tuscany, located north-west of Pisa along the Ligurian sea. Although people are familiar with it being a beach town, it is also known to host one of the best Carnival in all of Italy. And the best part? You can reach Viareggio directly by train from Pisa in less than 20 minutes!
In the early 19th century, Viareggio was a popular location for the wealthy and artists alike. Even after a century, it has still managed to keep its charm to offer something for everyone. Viareggio is under the radar for tourists, which means you should definitely visit this beautiful location if you are looking for a relaxing vacation in a less crowded coastal town.
Points of interest
Promenade: Viareggio’s must-see location and the most important point. An almost mile long seafront walkway known to locals as “la passeggiata” where the street is filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. Not only is it one of the best places for a walk at any time of the day, it also offers locals and tourists a ton of things to do. You’ll always find people there engaged in different activities such as walking, eating, playing and enjoying local food, it feels kind of like being in a small fair.
Beaches: As they say – “Sky above, sand below, peace within.” Despite there being a lot of sandy beaches around, most of them are privately owned, so be sure to do your research beforehand. However, at the south coast of the city you will find some nice, free of charge beaches as well. Viareggio has one of the longest sandy beaches in all of Italy! Paying a small fee allows you to go for a swim in the private beaches, which includes access to an umbrella, sunbed, showers, restrooms, etc.
Pier of Viareggio: This is without a doubt my favorite location in all of Viareggio. A great walking path beside the canal, which ends with a fantastic view of the sea. It starts at the end of Via Regia, which is another must visit if you want to take a stroll while enjoying ecstatic sites.
Pineta di Ponente: If you appreciate long walks without the sun glaring down on you, then this is lovely large pinewood park, only a kilometer from the beach, is just the perfect spot for you! You can plan a day out here for a picnic with your family and loved ones, or even for just some quiet time alone to get away from your hectic everyday life.
Museum of the Carnival of Viareggio: The carnival of Viareggio happens between February – March but if you are not there during that time, you can always visit the museum to check out the history behind the Carnival of Viareggio, described through original documents, sketches, posters and miniatures. Discover all the mysteries about papier – mâché. People visiting are allowed to play with clay and paper, for a hands-on experience in learning the art of manufacturing.
Torre Matilde: The oldest building in Viareggio. Built in 1534 by the government of Lucca, it has since been destroyed (partially) and rebuilt as well. Over the years, it has been used for multiple purposes, serving once as a watch tower, a prison, seat of the Civic Guard, a prison once again, and then finally as a place for temporary culture and exhibition activities.
Places to eat
Now let’s come to my favorite part of every trip, Food! There is no surprise that eating authentic Italian food is a fantasy for everyone, so I’ll try to mention a few good places.
Breakfast: 2 of the best places to have in Viareggio is Pasticceria Puccinelli and my favorite pastry shop Pasticceria Patalani who serves the best tiramisu cake (yes baked, a specialty of theirs).
Lunch and Dinner: Osteria l’Imbarco, a reasonably priced place, located in Via Paolina Buonaparte, that serves seafood, pasta grills. La Contea, near the train station located in Via Antonio Fratti, also has a good menu with a budget friendly price and a Hobbit decoration interior.
Fine Dining: If you are into fine dining, then I would highly recommend going to Il Porto in Via Michele Coppino. Along with the fantastic food, it also offers a beautiful view of the sea! As you can assume fine dining so the price for 2 will be around 100 euros.
For a list of places to eat, check back to our future posts!
A stay in Viareggio grants you the chance to explore the beauty of Tuscany. Some near places around are: Lucca, Pisa, Carrara. — by Navil Noor
Navil Noor is an IT enthusiast and self-proclaimed cooking genius. He lives in Viareggio with his lovely wife and has been living in Italy for over 3 1/2 years. The couple comes from the South Asian country – Bangladesh – and Navil loves to eat and travel (damn you pandemic), also in his free time he likes listening to music, watching movies and playing games (including learning to make them).