Tourism - English

 

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  • Essential Viareggio

Viareggio is deservely known as the “Pearl of the Tyrrhenian”, thanks to its beaches of fine golden sand, marinas, vast pine woods, and the elegant shops that face onto the long boulevards lined with palm trees and oleander bushes. The city, which spreads out over the magnificent coast of Versilia, is circumscribed to the south by the Burlamacca canal, from which the name of the mask-character representing the Carnival derives, and to the north by the Abate Trench, which separates Viareggio from Lido di Camaiore. Its name derives from the “Castrum de via Regia”, a huge fortress on the seashore that was built in 1172 by the Lucchesi and Genoese, who were allied against Pisa, in order to defend the coast and surrounding territory.

  • How to reach Viareggio

Because of its barycentric location, Viareggio is easy to reach from both the most important cities of Tuscany and the rest of Italy, also thanks to the important motorway and railway networks that serve it and to the proximity of two international airports. By car - State Road 1/Aurelia (Rome-Ventimiglia). Motorways: From the south: A1 (“Autostrada del Sole”) to Florence, then A11 (“Firenze/Mare”) as far as the “Viareggio” exit; A12 (“Genova-Rosignano”) as far as the “Viareggio” exit; From the north: A1 (“Autostrada del Sole”) as far as Parma, then A15 (“Autostrada della Cisa”) as far as Santo Stefano Magra; then A12 (“Genova-Rosignano”) as far as the “Viareggio” exit. By train - Lines: Ventimiglia - Torino [Turin] - Genova [Genoa] - Pisa - Roma [Rome]; Milano [Milan] - Livorno [Leghorn]; Viareggio - Lucca - Montecatini - Pistoia - Prato - Firenze [Florence]. The arrival station is always that of Viareggio for each of these lines. By air -Viareggio can be reached easily from the “G. Galileo” Airport in Pisa (22 km) also using public transportation. This is also the case from the “A. Vespucci” Airport in Florence (95 km). By boat -The tourist port of Viareggio is one of the best-equipped ports in Italy

  • Events (City life)

The Carnival of Viareggio is one of the finest celebrations in the Italian popular tradition and folklore, and not only Italian since it is world-famous. It originated in 1873 with a parade of masqueraders along the Via Regia. The first floats, made of wood and canvas, began to parade along the wide seaside boulevards in 1921. The introduction of papier mâché, which made them light and easy to manoeuvre, enabled them to become large and imposing, just the way they are today. In 1931, Uberto Bonetti, a painter from Viareggio, created Burlamacco, who became the official mask-character of the Carnival. The place where the floats are built, known as the Cittadella del Carnevale, was inaugurated in 2001. This is a multipurpose structure consisting of sixteen hangars and a building in which the papier mâché school and the Carnival Museum are located. During the summer months, its amazing square becomes an open-air theatre and a place for important events such as the Festival Teatro Canzone, dedicated to Giorgio Gaber, and the Cittadella Jazz & More festival, which features famous jazz and popular music artists. The awards ceremony for the Premio Letterario Viareggio-Rèpaci, one of the most prestigious and coveted Italian literary prizes, also takes place there in summer. The Premio Internazionale Artiglio (Artiglio International Prize) is given in Viareggio every two years. The award commemorates the feats performed by the Artiglio Divers who, at the end of the 1920s, were the only ones capable of working at a depth of more than 130 metres in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Lastly, the European Film Festival is an appointment with the great European Cinema.

  • The Sea

The extensive dimensions of the sandy shore of Viareggio, its soft and extremely fine sand, and the gentle slope of the seabed are ideal for bathing. The first baths were opened in 1828: the “Nereo” and the “Dori” were the first bathing establishments in Italy, and strictly separate bathing for men and women was allowed. Two new ones were opened with the Unification of Italy: the “Nettuno” and the “Balena”. At the beginning of the 20th century Viareggio, which in the meantime had further developed, became the destination of privileged holidays for aristocrats. Today, the beaches are completely equipped with everything that a tourist could wish for. The – currently very numerous – bathing establishments look after the stretches of beach assigned to them, and have provided them with swimming pools, bars, restaurants, and different sports facilities.

  • Landing

The most prestigious cruising yachts that sail the seas of the entire world were launched from the shipyards of Viareggio. This is also the reason why numerous pleasure boats find berths at the wharves of the Viareggio wet docks. The port was inaugurated in 1913 by King Victor Emmanuel III. Since then, it has been continually enlarged until reaching its current size, which makes the mooring of 1,000 pleasure boats possible. Quality services and advanced technology make the Viareggio marina one of the most sought-after in the Mediterranean. HOUSING There are many historic hotels of very good quality in Viareggio, several of which have recently been renovated. The wide range of accommodation facilities (hotels with 1 to 4 stars, residences, B&B, holiday houses, camping grounds) is able to satisfy all requirements of individual, family and organised tourism. Furthermore, the mild climate enjoyed by the city makes it suitable in all seasons as a convention or meeting site, also thanks to the availability of the Versilia Congress Centre and to numerous accommodations structures.

  • Food & Shopping

The existence of many restaurants means that it is possible to offer catering to satisfy all tastes and needs. In addition to large restaurants found mentioned in the most qualified gastronomic guidebooks, there are also pizzerias and typical trattorias, not to mention numerous food festivals, particularly in summer. There, Viareggio-style cuisine can be enjoyed: fish steals the show, and cacciucco (the famous fish soup) becomes the undisputed king of the table. Many Italian designers have opened elegant boutiques, especially along the “Passeggiata”, which is considered the city’s elite drawing room. Also very characteristic, however, are the shops around the “Piazzone” (large square), where the central market is located. This is integrated within a large pedestrian zone in the centre of the city. There is no shortage of weekly local markets, which are always very well-attended, and the once-a-month small crafts market is very picturesque. Here, you can find papier- mâché gift items made by the float-makers of the Carnival.