I have to admit that our 2022 Italian summer trip wasn’t really organized or planned in advance. We just knew we wanted to see this part of Italy and enjoy the beach with the little one. The exact place where we stayed for most of the time was decided once we found a nice bed and breakfast which was still available one day before departure. Many decisions were taken last minute which even intensified our enthusiasm for how it all turned out. But at the end, it was a great trip full of many different impressions from places we saw, food we tasted and felt in love (like for example the ravioli with sauge butter or the bay leaf liqueur), and people we met.
After a weekend at Lake Como and a day trip to Cinque Terre, we stayed mainly in the North-Western part of Tuscany, mainly in Versilia and beyond. Versilia is a coastline part of the Nothern Tuscany extending between the Ligurian Sea and the Apuan Alps and we fell in love – see why in this post! If you wonder what more is there worth visiting apart from Florence or Pisa, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and you will get the next post directly into your email box! 😉
A unique place to stay
We found and reserved a place to stay in Seravezza, near Forte dei Marmi, one day before departure and at the end we felt in love with it so we prolonged our stay for a few more nights. Il Paradiso Agriturismo Biologico is located up on the hill in Seravezza, about 15-20 minutes drive from the beach and center of Forte dei Marmi. The first part of the drive was basically just driving downhill with incredible views of the whole valley, the mountains from where the marble is being extracted, the populated city, and the sea. Also from the room or dining area, you get an incredible view over the valley.
The farmhouse has a few rooms for guests all furnished in an adorable Tuscan style, and also a very authentic Tuscan kitchen with a large terrace overseeing the huge garden, Forte dei Marmi, and the sea. Every morning, while we were enjoying breakfast which always included some tasty fruit from their extensive garden and local croissants and bread from Pietrasanta.
This adorable agriturismo is run by Matteo, who does also sculptures which you can see exposed in the extensive garden. In the season, Matteo is usually busy with the cooks almost every day bringing freshly harvested produce from the garden or receiving deliveries for dinner that are in preparation from scratch since the early morning. There is an option to dine in upon reservation – but if you do so, be sure not to eat much during the day as their degustation menu is really rich both in flavors but also in volume. 🙂 It is a wonderful experience on its own. (And a cherry on the cake: for parents with a little child, it is also a paradise in the sense that you could enjoy dinner while the little one is sleeping in the room upstairs.)
Forte dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi is a hidden gem on the Western Italian coast with pristine long wide sandy beaches at the foot of the Apuane mountains where marble is being extracted, so it offers mesmerizing views in the background – it’s not snow but marble, the same stone you walk on the sidewalk in the town!
In this chic town of Versilia you can find here some luxury villas and beaches with all services included, but still, you can also find a free beach or an ice cream or a restaurant for a normal price, a wonderful playground in the shadow of pine trees. The good thing is you mainly hear only Italian around you, it’s full of local people, which in Italy means something!
We loved the market in Forte dei Marmi that takes place each Wednesday. You can find some fine linen shirts or dresses, table naps, handmade leather goods, and other artisanal products. If you happen to visit Forte dei Marmi in mid-August, there is also an antique market going on.
On the food side, as we did not eat many times in the town (as we had a great dinner option in the accommodation), I can only advise the incredible gelateria O Sole Mio – make sure to pass by to try some of their unbeatable ice cream such as the Sacher cake one!
Pietrasanta is the jewel of Versilia and a paradise for each artistic soul – its ancient capital and nowadays an open-air museum. This pleasant town near the seaside in Northern Tuscany is home to several renowned artists, such as the late Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero whose paintings you can see in one of the churches and you can also find his Warrior statue in town.
You can walk through the streets with art galleries, statues by local artists, workshops, boutiques dedicated to art, flowers or fashion, restaurants and wine bars. A must is to visit some of the mesmerizing churches too! And eat the local specialty – schrocchiarella (kind of a fluffy airy pizza)!
As Forte dei Marmi has been connected with marble extraction in the past and still nowadays driving around, you can see many places assembling the marble pieces, we were curious to learn and see more about one of the world’s finest materials and therefore sought visit a marble quarry in the area. Mario advised us to drive to Carrara and search for Marmotour. During this tour which lasted about 40 minutes, we could see the fascinating process of tunnel quarry – they took us basically inside the marble cathedral and showed us the machines and ways of marble extraction. We got to learn some interesting facts about tunnel quary and the history of the Marmi Galleria Ravaccione. Upon arrival through a tunnel, the guests are welcomed by a reproduction of Michelangelo’s Genesis, because the maestro used for his masterpieces marble from this area.
After the marble cave, we were given a tip from our guide to visit the closeby town Colonnata. In order to access the town, we had to leave the car at a common parking and take a small bus that drove us to the main square of this little town in the mountains. A stunning view was awaiting us upon getting off the bus on white marble ground – white mountains were overlooking the houses surrounding the square. We got lost in its tiny streets, visited the pretty local church, saw some murals or photographs of the marble extraction from the past, had a pancake for lunch, and then headed back to the car.
As we finished the tour early afternoon, we drove to the coast to Lerici where we googled a nice beach. Although it was a smaller beach than in Forte dei Marmi and therefore the density of population here was much higher, the color of the water was more turquoise and it had an enchanting view of the castle. We stayed for the evening, had a walk alongside the promenade, and visited the town. It got pretty busy at night, with restaurants filled and long waiting times, but it was a nice change.