One of the best-known areas on the coast of Tuscany is Versilia. This stretch includes luxurious beach towns such as Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, and Torre del Lago. This entire area in the Lucca province is known for its nightclubs, beautiful water, chic shops, celebrities, and of course, Carnival. Let’s find out what to see in Viareggio!
The Dock and the Burlamacca Channel
Viareggio’s dock (la darsena) and the seaside promenade known as the “Margherita” are the beating heart of this seaside town. The Burlamacca Channel, the navigable tributary of Lake Massacciuccoli, also arrives here. Along the promenade, you’ll find renowned restaurants, bars, bathing establishments, and nightlife. Viareggio’s port is at the end of the channel where you will surely spot luxury yachts docked throughout the year. You might even have a VIP sighting!
The Politeama Theater is a historic cinema and theater in the vicinity of the Eugenio Guidotti Pier. It’s also known as the “Trojan horse” because it was originally made of wood. It has since been rebuilt several times whether to reinforce its previous wooden frame or after the damage caused by World War II. Now the building has been rebuilt in accordance with current law and welcomes guests for various types of shows.
Referred to as the Passeggiata Margherita, this promenade is also the stage Viareggio’s famous Carnival. This is not your average promenade. Taking a leisurely stroll here is obligatory whether you’re a local or a tourist. Magnificent historic buildings in Art Nouveau style and the sea surround you on either side. The Gran Caffè Margherita, much loved and frequented by Giacomo Puccini, is the focal point. Bagno Balena with its magnificent portal is also one of Viareggio’s signature sights.
Nobody can visit Viareggio without seeing the clown statue (known as “Burlamacco”) that has become the symbol of Carnival and of Viareggio. Even if you’re not visiting during the Carnival season, you can still get into the spirit by visiting the nearby museum dedicated to the history of this famous event.
What to Eat in Viareggio
After strolling down the Margherita promenade, you will have worked up an appetite for some local favorites. Being a seaside resort, seafood dishes are clearly at the top of the list. Cacciucco is a seafood stew served on crusty bread that is probably the most signature and traditional of all of Viareggio’s dishes. Or try spaghetti con i nicchi (local dialect for spaghetti with clams). Last but not least, in addition to some traditional Carnival sweets, scarpaccia is a dessert particular to Viareggio made out of zucchini.