The many things to see and do in Forte dei Marmi will surprise you: sport, relaxation, art, culture and good food!
Cradled by the Ligurian Sea and protected by the Apuan Alps, Forte dei Marmi is the golden pearl of Versilia. Here sea and mountains frame one of the most exclusive and glamorous places in the province of Lucca in Tuscany.
If you too have chosen this destination, get ready for all the amazing things to see in Forte dei Marmi! 😉
This luxury tourist destination boasts beach facilities – the famous “Bagni” – that will make you feel like the protagonist of the Vanzina brothers’ film Time for Loving (Sapore di Sale). The shopping in the streets of the city centre, the aperitifs by the sea and the local cuisine make it extremely seductive.
You will realise that, in addition to all this, there is also space for art, culture and natural immersion!
Let me tell you a little history…
The town’s most distant past originates with the Ligurians, who had to submit to Roman expansion in the 2nd century.
The role of the marble quarries was crucial in the economic and road development of the area: the Medici family was responsible for them in 1500 and contributed to the creation of roads to take the blocks to the sea. Michelangelo himself visited to personally choose the best marble to make La Pietà.
Towards the end of the 18th century, it became necessary to create a fort to protect the shipment of the marbles from the Turks. Later it was also used as a warehouse before the embarkation of blocks. From this practice, the name of today’s Forte dei Marmi derives.
In the late 19th century, tycoons and entrepreneurs built residential villas and bathing facilities, vital to the town’s tourism today.
What to see in Forte dei Marmi? Read here! 👇
Forte dei Marmi historic centre: Piazza Garibaldi, Via Roma, Via Mazzini and Piazza Dante
Here you can breathe in the essence of Forte dei Marmi. We are in the historic centre where you can admire the shop windows of the most popular boutiques on the international scene, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and many others.
Piazza Marconi and the Forte weekly market
This is the most luxurious market in Italy. Every Wednesday of the month (also Sundays in high season) until 2 p.m., Piazza Marconi displays clothes, bags, shoes, at a lower price than expensive boutiques. There is no shortage of food and wine as well as local handicrafts such as ceramics and cashmere sheets. It is interesting to note that, in the centre of the square, a circular green area borders the Parco delle Rimembranze (Remembrance Park), in honour of the fallen soldiers of the wars.
Monthly antiques market
The charm of antique objects is timeless and, if you love them, you can go to Piazza Dante, every second weekend of the month, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.!
Built from 1782 to 1788 at the behest of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo I of Lorraine, the Fortress is the city’s emblematic monument. Created for defensive purposes for the city and trade, today it is at the disposal of art: it houses the Museum of Satire and Caricature and often hosts exhibitions as well as cultural events.
Ugo Guidi Museum
Included in the list of houses of memory, the Ugo Guidi atelier is a demonstration of how the territory shapes art. It is certainly a stop you cannot miss and can be visited all year round by appointment.
Church of Sant’Ermete
The Church of the Patron Saint is a refuge for the resident worshippers, but also attracts seasonal visitors who want to dedicate a moment of the day to spirit and art. In addition to marble statues and pulpits, there is a high-performance organ inside that allows for major musical events.
Historical villas: the Vittoria Apuana & Imperial Rome districts
The oldest villa is the majestic Tenuta Apuana of the Siemens family. It is inspired by Italian Renaissance villas and its dining rooms were frescoed by Hildebrand.
The Vittoria Apuana district preserves beautiful villas, such as Villa Erminia, owned by Minister Giovanni Gentile; the Pensione Alpemare, which has hosted artists and writers such as De Filippo, Moravia and De Sica. Last but not least, you will certainly be able to attend one of the events organised at Villa Bertelli, the centre of Forte dei Marmi’s cultural life. Just a few steps from the sea, the former Villa Costanza, which became the beloved home of the Agnelli family in 1926, is today the most exclusive luxury hotel in Forte dei Marmi: the Hotel Augustus.
In the Roma Imperiale district, artists and intellectuals lived in and frequented Villa Pedrazzi and Villa Carrà, not far from each other. It is worth stopping to admire Villa Mann Borgese, built for the daughter of German writer Thomas Mann, whose appearance is reminiscent of “an ocean liner ready to set sail for the mountains”!
Waterfront and jetty
This seafront promenade on the Tyrrhenian Sea is the favourite place for the inhabitants of Forte dei Marmi. From Piazza Navari, perpendicular to the pier, there is about 9 km of promenade where you can take romantic walks, do jogging or enjoy the sunset while eating an ice cream. Moreover, all the bathing establishments can be accessed from there.
Beaches and facilities
Golden beaches, crystal-clear sea, luxurious bathing facilities: this is the Forte dei Marmi to see. Don’t expect low costs, but know that these establishments are of inestimable historical value to Versilia.
The most renowned is the Capannina di Franceschi, a true institution since 1930. Singers, actors, showgirls and entrepreneurs still frequent this bathing establishment. Continuing along the coast, one is spoilt for choice: Bagno Alpemare, owned by the Bocelli family and in the past frequented by poets such as Montale and Ungaretti; Bagno Santa Maria, which has maintained its traditional 1960s charm, with its green wooden cabins; and then Bagno Piero, Bagno Annetta and many others.
WWF Oasis and Dune Beach
On the border with Cinquale, the last stretch of coastline is completely natural and freely accessible. The Dune Nature Oasis extends over about 3 hectares and protects many native botanical species with the help of the WWF.
Clubs in Forte dei Marmi
Let’s start with the most famous clab, Flavio Briatore’s Twiga Beach Club. It is located by the sea, has got a swimming pool and a lounge area where super-exclusive evenings are organised. Unique in its kind is the 67 sky lounge bar, a lounge bar on the terraces of the Hotel Principe, from where you can admire Forte dei Marmi from above. The Capannina di Franceschi has got a fantastic disco on the sea. Also very popular are the Costes, ideal for aperitifs with DJ sets, or the Almarosa Art Music Bar and the Riviera Lounge Club Bistrot, nightlife venues offering live music and excellent drinks.
10 things to see in Forte dei Marmi, not to be missed!
And if you don’t want to forget anything, here is a checklist for you:
- Bathing establishments: La Capannina di Franceschi and Alpemare
- Sunset jetty and “upwind” statue
- Dune Beach
- Piazza Marconi weekly market
- Historical centre and its shopping streets
- Fort Lorense
- Church of San’Ermete
- Ugo Guidi Museum
- Rimembranze Park
What to do in Forte dei Marmi? Sport, relaxation, culture & good food!
There is certainly plenty to see in Forte dei Marmi, but just as much to do. Only 8 km from the beach, the Apuan Alps offer nature lovers trekking routes to dive into and admire the Versilia sea from above.
You can explore the famous marble quarries of Carrara, or the ancient mines of Calcaferro, from the inside, as well as go climbing and hiking along the nature trails surrounding the Alps. And while you’re at it, why not go white truffle hunting with Experts?
The beach is certainly a favourite spot for children, as well as for those who love to relax. But, if you are a surfing or windsurfing enthusiast, the area near the jetty is great for these sports! In addition, you can take advantage of the seafront for your jogging or long cycling sessions: the cycle path is among the most popular in Italy.
For a little more privacy and an offshore lunch, book sailing tours. Of course, you can take advantage of this to dive into the blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea, skirting the other parts of Versilia, Elba Island and the Cinque Terre. And if you are a speed lover, you can hire jet skis!
Sports enthusiasts will find no shortage of suitable facilities: from the numerous tennis clubs to the municipal football stadium. From gyms to outdoor calisthenics. And then again ice hockey, bowling and skateboarding, ending with an exclusive golf club. In short, there is something for everyone!
In a land like Tuscany, there is no shortage of food and wine experiences: cooking courses, Champagne tastings, and winery tours in the Chianti and Bolgheri wine regions – not far from Forte dei Marmi.
The local cuisine is a combination of sea and mountains and this is evident from the raw materials: pine nuts, nettles, chestnut flour from which chestnut cake is made and Querceta olive oil; and from the sea come the mantis shrimp, sea bass and deep-sea fish with which a poor soup called trabaccolara is made.
In Forte dei Marmi it is a must to eat spaghetti with clams or telline, Versilian tordelli (every family or restaurant has got a very personal version) and Gombitelli salumi, which boast an ancient tradition of sausage-making.
And for a complete food experience, dining at one of the town’s starred restaurants will make your stay in Versilia memorable.
Popular Events and Festivals, in Forte dei Marmi
- La Versiliana Festival: it takes place in the Villa La Versiliana Park in July and August. Expect to see national premieres, ballets, cabaret shows, but there is also a space dedicated to children.
- Festival della Satira Politica: now in its 50th year, Villa Bertelli has been hosting a true festival for the past few years with the evening of the awarding of the coveted prize. You could meet many stars of the small and big screen!
- Versilia Jazz Festival: it brings together Italian and international artists from the jazz scene. Don’t miss the magic of soulful notes to make your holiday in Forte dei Marmi unique.
- Sant’Ermete celebrations: the most eagerly awaited event for the people of Forte dei Marmi. It is the town’s traditional festival that marks the end of summer. The celebrations for the patron saint last about four days and end on the 28th with a marvellous display of fireworks on the pier. In the days preceding the celebrations, the Palio dei Bagni takes place, a historical procession with flag-wavers and figures. The performance by the Marinara band follows the traditional “focata”, a huge bonfire in Piazza Garibaldi. There is also the traditional tombola di Sant’Ermete. There is no shortage of hawkers at the market and street food with porchetta (roast suckling pig), dried fruit, olives, brigidini and croccanti.
Visit Forte dei Marmi and its surroundings
Pietrasanta and Marina di Pietrasanta
The natural boundary between Marina di Pietrasanta and Forte dei Marmi is the Versiliana Park. Nicknamed “Little Athens”, Pietrasanta is a nerve centre of art and entertainment with Piazza Duomo, framed by the backdrop of the Apuan Alps. Marble sculpture is an established tradition here and the town is overrun with art galleries – even Fernando Botero opened his studio here! You can also visit the Museo dei Bozzetti and enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the Rocca di Sala. Proceeding towards the sea on Viale Apua, you can reach the bathing establishments of Marina di Pietrasanta.
Camaiore and Lido di Camaiore
Lido di Camaiore gives the town of the same name direct access to the sea. It too boasts bathing establishments with all comforts. You can also admire the Apuan Alps from the Ferris wheel or dine directly on the pier. The town of Camaiore is also worth a visit in its historical centre, where numerous churches and the municipal archaeological museum can be visited. There are many traditions linked to Christian festivities and the Palio dell’Assunta is held on 15 August.
Seravezza and Querceta
Seravezza is the administrative seat of the municipality, but Querceta is the most important centre from an economic point of view. At “il puntone”, you can admire the point where the Serra and Vezza streams join to form the Versilia River. It is there, on the night between 9 and 10 August, that the bonfire for the feast of San Lorenzo, the town’s patron saint, comes to life. Folkloristic is the Palio dei Micci: on the first Sunday of May, eight contrade (districts) compete in a donkey race (micci in dialect).
Apuan Alps Park
The Apuan Alps are a massif that enjoys a unique perspective: they face the sea and are a cradle of faunal and floristic biodiversity. They extend over 200 km², embracing the territories of Versilia, Massa Carrara and Garfagnana. There are countless nature trails to take and excursions suitable for experts and children alike.
You can visit marble quarries, natural lakes (the largest one is Lake Vagli), but also streams that lead to underground stalactite caves, such as the Grotta del Vento or the cavern of Corchia. The Cascate dell’acqua pendente (waterfalls) can also be visited and, if you are in the company of children, there is the Levigliese adventure park in the Garfagnana.
It is totally immersed in the Apuan Alps and divided into 17 hamlets. It guards the ancient mines of Calcaferro, from where silver was extracted. Among the woods, you can immerse yourself in a religious silence by reaching the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Piastraio.
Massa and Carrara
The two neighbouring towns are closely related, although distinct. On the sea side are Marina di Massa and Marina di Carrara, while on the mountain side it is the marble that dominates. Extracted from the quarries in this area, it is world-famous! In addition to organised tours, you also have the opportunity to visit the Fantiscritti Quarry Museum.
In addition, just 5 km from Massa, there is the Aghinolfi Castle in Montignoso. Dating back to the 7th century, it was built on a strategic fortress from a military point of view, so much so that it was also used by the Nazis in World War II. Below the castle, the Via Francigena passes today.
Surrounded by the quarries from which Michelangelo used to take his marble, Colonnata gives its name to one of the most famous local and national foods: Lardo di Colonnata PGI, which is cured inside marble basins. Its relentless perfume pervades the narrow streets of the town, and inside one of the many lard factories you can enjoy unique food tastings – one of the oldest one is Mafalda’s!
This is the largest town near Forte dei Marmi. A seaside resort since the early 1800s, it boasts Art Nouveau architecture and numerous museums, including one dedicated to Paolina Borghese. Very important is the local market, a centre where you can enjoy local cuisine and the ever-present Caciucco.
Under the protection of the Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Regional Park, in the municipality of Massarosa, you will find this lake whose depth does not exceed 4 metres. The environment creates a wonderful microclimate for many plant and animal species. It is worth organising a family walk with a guided tour, an excursion with the Burlamacca motorboat or a canoe tour.
This is the capital city of the province, with a delightfully medieval style and walls enclosing towers (two of which can be visited), cloisters and countless churches. There is also an interesting underground Lucca, not to be missed. In addition, two famous festivals take place here, the Lucca Comics and the Lucca Summer Festival.
Halfway between Florence and Pisa, the hill on which San Miniato stands is home to the famous white truffle. The National Market Exhibition dedicated to it is very popular. In the picturesque village of San Miniato, you can visit the Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, the Palace of the Imperial Vicars and admire the view from the Matilde Tower.
Only 35 km from Forte dei Marmi, and reachable by car in about 1 hour and a half, Pisa is a must-see: its Leaning Tower, Piazza dei Miracoli, and Baptistery are world-famous and thousands of tourists fall in love with them every year.
Cinque Terre, Lerici and Portovenere
Starting from the Forte dei Marmi pier, you can reach the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of five seaside villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia and Monterosso. In Riomaggiore and Monterosso, you can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the surrounding caves and golden beaches from the sea.
Manarola stands on a promontory that provides the opportunity for wonderful aperitifs and dinners overlooking the sea. Vernazza is the most famous village: the Doria Castle, on the sea, is without doubt unique.
At the two opposite ends of the horseshoe that cradles La Spezia, you will find Lerici and Porto Venere. In Lerici, the castle towering over the port makes this village extremely characteristic. Portovenere, at the other end, can be reached by boat with tours from Forte dei Marmi that also stop at the adjacent islets of Terrizzo, Isola del Tino and Isola del Tinetto. Here you can explore the sea and the wonderful caves, such as the Grotta dei Colombi on Isola Palmaria or the volcanic Grotta di Cala Grande.
Reaching Forte dei Marmi is really easy!
- By car, just take the Versilia exit on the A12, which is 4 km from the centre of Forte dei Marmi.
- Public transport is green and economical: the nearest railway station is Forte dei Marmi-Seravezza- Querceta. From the station, you can reach the centre in 25 minutes with the E35 public transport line (you can also buy your ticket via the TABNET app and activate it when you use it!).
- By plane: the nearest international airport is Galileo Galilei in Pisa. From here you can reach Forte dei Marmi by bus or train. There is also an aerotaxi service open to commercial tourist traffic at Massa-Cinquale, which can also be used to admire Versilia from above.
- By sea: Viareggio is the nearest port, with more than a thousand berths.
All you have to do is pack your bags, choose the most suitable means of transport and let yourself be overwhelmed by what there is to see and do in Forte dei Marmi and its surroundings!
I wish you a pleasant journey in Tuscany 😉