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DO & SEE
Versilia Coast is in northwestern Tuscany. This coast includes a line of white beaches that cover the coast from the Bocca di Magra (mouth of the Magra River) to the Arno River near Pisa. The sea is one of the best in northern Italy and the towns are the perfect place to enjoy the summer sun.
The territory of Versilia includes Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, Stazzema, Seravezza, Viareggio, Massarosa and Camaiore. Each city has its own reasons why it is worth visiting. For gay men in Versilia there are many things to do, opportunities to meet friends and to have fun, especially in the gay mecca of Torre del Lago. The best time to visit the Versilia coast is summer and the best thing you can do here is relax under the sun. There are many beach clubs in this area for all budgets.
If you love shopping Forte dei Marmi is the place to go. It is known in all of Italy for its boutiques and fish restaurants and this is a really nice place to spend hours walking in its charming streets. But this town is also famous for its Wednesday market. Here you can shop for clothing and leather goods. Apart from its market, Forte dei Marmi has many cultural points of interest: the Fortino is the ducal fortress of the late 18th century, and be sure to visit the Church of St Ermete and its beautiful villas. This is also one of the most loved travel destinations for its clean and sandy beaches.
Pietrasanta is another beautiful town for strolling and discovering the many marble shops, art galleries and restaurants. This town is called City of the Artists because here many sculptors, painters and artists such as Botero and Sepulveda decided to work here. The main square of Pietrasanta is Piazza Duomo, here you can find cafés, art exhibitions and of course the Duomo, the church of San Martino.
At Camaiore, you can find the best Versilian foods. During a visit here make sure to try the zucchini cake called scarpaccia, the sbriciolona (a pork sausage) and tordelli a ravioli with meat and chard. If you love romantic places take a walk to the wharf of Camaiore: here you’ll find a special view and it’s a great place for a kiss.
The Apuans Alps are perfect for hiking lovers: you can find panoramic trails and an amazing view of the seaside. You can also discover the underground of the Apuans Alps. At Corchia you can go deep into the earth under the mountain and see the Stalactites gallery as well as visit the old mines.
If you have the opportunity to come to Versilia in February you cannot miss the Viareggio Carnival, one of the biggest Carnival Parades in Europe, drawing over a million people. Make sure to try cenci, a traditional pastry of Carnival.
Its liberty style buildings, cafés and restaurants on its promenade makes Viareggio one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Versilia. During a visit of Viareggio make sure to take a walk along its promenade and visit the liberty villas. Villa Paolina, commissioned by Napoleon’s sister, Villa Amore and Villa Flore are the best examples of Italian Liberty style villas. But unfortunately, you can visit them only from the outside as they are not open to visitors.
A visti at the Versilia Coast is not complete without tasting some good and typical Versialian foods. Among the best dishes to try here that you cannot miss are the risotto with cuttlefish, the fried fish and the spaghetti with arselle. As for the wine, be sure to drink a good glass of Brunello di Montalcino, Merlot or a Chianti.
TORRE DEL LAGO
Torre del Lago Puccini has been the premier Tuscany gay destination since the 1960’s. It is a small town known for its famous annual opera gala “Festival Puccini”, that attracts over 40000 attendees. The composer Giacomo Puccini spent a large part of his life here and he wrote La Bohème and Madame Butterfly here in his house that now hosts the Villa Puccini museum. Torre del Lago is the perfect place if you are looking for fun and a relaxing vacation. Here you can find everything you want: from bars to sandy beaches, from shops to discos.
Start your day at Torre del Lago at the gay free beach La Lecciona, a real institution in the Italian gay scene. This beach is well-frequented not only by gay men but also families in love with nudism and naturism. The dunes of the beach makes this part of Tuscany perfect for sunbathing and meeting nice guys. If you want to rent an umbrella you should go to the gay beach club Mama Dune Beach and enjoy your day at the beach listening to music and drinking good cocktails.
When the sun goes down the aperitivo time starts in every bar of Viale Europa, close to Mama Beach. Here you can find the best gay bars in town: Mamamia and Baddy. Every single bar is perfect for having drinks with friends before dinner where you can try some of the best food in downtown Tuscany or on the seaside. Every summer night here you can find a party to have fun with men and drag queens and you can dance all night long.
In August, the Pride Village hosts Miss Drag Queen Italy, Mister Gay Italy, August Mardi Gras, Miss Gaya and Miss Trans and parties for all people who love to have fun. When the summer ends, the parties move to nearby Pisa, with its vibrant gay night life and to Florence.
You will need an entire lifetime to visit Tuscany with its amazing medieval towns. When in the Versilia Coast make sure to visit these cities.
Best known for its leaning tower, this small city of Tuscany has much to discover. Make sure to visit the amazing Campo de’ Miracoli, the botanical garden, Keith Haring’s masterpiece Tuttomondo and drink a cocktail at the Lungoarno or in Piazza delle Vettovaglie.
Lucca is a top destination for those who are visiting Tuscany. Here you can find amazing buildings and medieval towers. Among the best things to see here and not miss are Lucca’s Walls, San Michele in Foro Church and the historic and artisan shops. The city is perfect for walking and shopping.
Cinque Terre is a dream come true! No place in the world is so beautiful as this one. Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza are some of the best destinations for a day trip from the Versilia Coast.
This is a charming city with breathtaking view and amazing places to walk and squares to meet friends. Here you can visit the birthplace of Columbus, walk in the labyrinthic old town and eat the famous pesto ligure.
The city of white marble is another perfect destination for a day trip if you are in Versilia. Spend some time walking in its old town city center: visit the Cathedral, the Fine Arts Academy, Piazza Alberica and the amazing buildings of Via Loris Giorgi.
Versilia Coast has soft sandy beaches that cover the coastline between the clear blue sea and the green pine woods. Here the best beaches of Versilia Coast.
Marina di Carrara: Marina di Carrara is the seaside town of Carrara, the most famous Italian marble producing city.
Marina di Massa: This is the seaside town of Massa. Near the pier you can find free beaches and several historical bagni (beach clubs). The city is perfect for those who love cultural events and seafood restaurants.
Forte dei Marmi: Forte dei Marmi is the fashion city of the Versilia Coast. It is famous for its weekly clothing market. The beaches here are among the best of Versilia. Make sure to visit the city: it is a real gem!
Marina di Pietrasanta: Here you can find a sandy beach about 5 kilometers (2 miles) long and an amazing city where you can enjoy art, cafés and restaurants.
Torre di Lago Puccini: Torre del Lago is, along with Gallipoli, the gay mecca of the Italian summer holiday. Here you can find beaches and discos to have fun with friends.
Most of the gay scene in Versilia is along the Marina of Torre del Lago on viale Europa. Here you can find the Mamamia complex with nightclubs and beaches. The party season lasts from mid-May until September. You can start your night at Baddy, a gay café where you can sing karaoke with friends and watch a drag cabaret show. Boca TdL is the place for electronic music lovers. Here you can enjoy the night with good drinks and good friends. Mamamia is the best known gay nightclub of Versilia. It has two floors for dancing and you will enjoy the DJ selection of house and pop music. The staff is cute and the drag queens among the best in Italy.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Arriving at the Versilia Coast is quite simple. You can use the airports of Florence, Pisa or Genoa. Within Italy you can use the train system and you can get there from everywhere. The closest airport is Pisa International Airport and you can take a direct train from Pisa Centrale station to Torre del Lago, Viareggio or Camaiore. The ride takes under 30 minutes.
Festivals and main events in the Versilia Coast
There are several festivals, holidays and events celebrated in Versilia each year. Here are the main ones:
- February: Carnival Festivities in Viareggio
- June: Pride Week, Cittadella Jazz and More
- July Puccini Festival (Torre del Lago)
- August: Pride Village (Torre del Lago)
Do not hesitate to contact tourism professionals for information and help in organizing your stay in the individual cities of the Versilia Coast.
Is Versilia a gay friendly place?
Versilia is one of the oldest gay summer destinations in Italy. The gay life here is active during the summertime, especially in Torre del Lago where you will feel safe like no other place in Italy. 9/10
Gay Life: gay beaches, gay clubs, gay hotels and many more will give you many memorable moments despite that the clubs are highly frequented by straight people looking for some summer romance. In any case, a good time is guaranteed thanks to drag and music shows in all the bars until the early morning hours. 8/10
Gay only: there are not many men-only clubs. All the parties are open to anybody and people will dance on the street going from a club to another. On the beach and in the pinewood off the beach it will be easy to find more action for those who are looking for spicy situations. 6/10
Versilia is definitely a lot of fun and easy to get to for a summer evening away from Florence and Pisa. 8/10