Versilia itinerary

Travel story in Versilia. Impressions, opinions and advice on what to see, what to do, where to stay, where to eat and what to eat.

  • Holidays in Versilia tips
  • Siena
  • Viareggio
  • Pistoia
  • Massaciuccoli Lake and Torre del Lago Puccini
  • Apuan Alps
  • Forte dei Marmi
  • Versilia pictures and photos

Holidays in Versilia tips

In July, my wife Rita and I had done a week of holiday in Alassio, with the usual life of beach, and we wanted to do something more, we decide to go in Versilia con base a Viareggio to swim and visit Siena and some other places that we had not yet seen.

Let's start organizing the journey (modest budget), looking for hotels, restaurants, events etc., we find a Viareggio a 3-star and a two-star hotel in Siena.


23 August: departure at 6.30 am departure from Turin for Siena with the Eurostar train, change in Firenze Rifredi (total cost € 41 each).

We arrive at Siena around noon and, considering that it was raining and that the station is about 2,5 kilometers from the historic center where thehotels we allow ourselves a taxi (8 euros).

We arrive at the hotel Cannon d'oro (2 stars, 75 euros per night), the hotel is located in the historic center, a stone's throw from Piazza del Campo, in a thirteenth century building (one of the owners was mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy), used as a hotel for about two centuries, at the time called the Inn of England's Arms, large and comfortable rooms, (complete bathroom, satellite television etc), too bad the lack of a lift and the rather steep staircase, we were on the second floor.

Viareggio discos and night clubs

We decide to go for lunch, we find a buffet restaurant (Nannini), fixed price 12 euros, food at will (satisfactory).

Finally it stops raining, a warm sun returns, let's go to Piazza del Campo, passing through Via Montanini, Via Banchi di Sotto, all pedestrian, narrow, very animated, full of historic buildings, but also of shops, we see the Salimbeni Palace, seat of Monte dei Paschi di Siena and Chigi Saracini, seat of the well-known musical academy (rich program of concerts both in the afternoon and in the evening), we also pass in Via di Città where we admire the Loggia of the Merchants we come to Piazza del Campo.

The square, built in the period 1293-1349 is the heart of the city, place of the Palio and in Middle Ages executions, the most important streets converge, the square is very animated, has the shape of a shell, at the highest point there is the famous Gaia Source, made by Jacopo della Quercia, keep in mind that the panels depicting the Virgin and Virtue they are reproductions, the originals can be seen in the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.

On the external south side, opposite the Fountain, we find the Palazzo Pubblico, the Torre del Mangia and the Piazza Chapel (year 1376), inside the Palazzo Pubblico the Civic Museum (5 euros), which is worth a visit to admire works by Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, on the outside of the square you will find bar e restaurants with outdoor tables, always very popular.

We head in Piazza Duomo where we admire the grandiose Cathedral of the Assumption, in white marble, Roman-Gothic style, we queue to enter, admission fee 6 euros, but it is better to do the cumulative ticket for 10 euros which includes baptistery e museum.

Siena discos and night clubs

The interior is truly impressive, the works of art are countless, the pulpit sculpted by Nicola Pisano is splendid, the marble floor is fantastic, divided into 56 squares representing scenes of salvation and revelation, to whose realization the greatest artists worked of the time (also Donatello), a visit that is only a little careful takes no less than two hours, it should be noted that it is visible only in August and September, in the other months it is covered.

Let's move on to the Baptistery of San Giovanni, also in white marble, inside the beautiful hexagonal baptismal font of Jacopo della Quercia and the walls frescoed by one of the greatest painters of the time such as Vecchietta.

Around 20.30 we have dinner at Grotta Santa Caterina da Bagoga restaurant, which is located in an ancient and characteristic alley of Siena, even the interior is furnished in a characteristic way, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, we order dishes with the flavors of the ancient Sienese cuisine: crostini with chicken livers, Pici with Aglioni (fresh handmade pasta, with tomato, oil and cooked garlic), Ribollita, Turkey made with an 700th century recipe (Indian rooster with a mixture of spices and red wine), a taste of Peposo (Chianina stew with pepper and red wine), Rice cake with berries, and a another taste of dessert, all for around 40 euros for two with 2 glasses of wine.

We take a stroll again and stop in the always lively Piazza del Campo, then finally we go to sleep.

24 August: Let's go back to Piazza Duomo to visit it Hospital of S. Maria della Scala (4 euros), in front of the cathedral, where we admire the splendid frescoes on the walls, which date back to the fifteenth century, by Domenico Di Bartolo and Lorenzo Vecchietta and other painters of the Sienese school, depicting scenes from the hospital's activity (not to be missed)

So we go for a complete tour of the city, we visit the church of Gothic origin of St. Augustine (1260), the church of San Girolamo and Santa Maria dei Servi, with the remains of frescoes of the thirteenth century and the fresco attributed to Pietro Lorenzetti, as well as the church of S. Spirito which dates back to the Renaissance, of course we always pass in the narrow pedestrian streets with the splendid ones palaces, brief visit to the Caterinian sanctuary with a beautiful portal, then the church of San Domenico, with masterpieces by Sodoma, finally visit to the National Art Gallery, an essential visit to get a historical picture of Sienese painting of the time, we can see it all, although in the final part the custodians hurried us.

Around 21 pm we go to another restaurant there'Hosteria il Carroccio, we were a bit tired, we limited ourselves to Pici al sugo, Ribollita, duck all'etrusca, sweet, all very well cared for, at a cost of 36 euros for two.

We end the evening by sitting on the floor of Piazza del Campo.

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August 25-27: Stay in Viareggio, a beautiful, vast seaside resort town beach sandy, gently sloping sea, with a long (and well-known) promenade parallel to the sea, with Art Nouveau buildings, full of shops, open until midnight, there are 7 cinemas, series of conferences at Caffè Principino (we attended the last one with Franco Ferrarotti), the possibility of doing excursions by bike, the cycle path next to the seafront (many renters), both in the two vast pine forests, east and west, an open library, with a reading room for newspapers and magazines and an internet point (only in the morning), a museum it's a picture gallery, also good public transport services, possibility to reach Pisa and Lucca in about 30 minutes by train (by bus it takes more), for opera lovers excellent connections with Torre del Lago for the Puccini festival, and the seaside resorts of Versilia.

THEalbergo Dolly is a three-star, well-kept, a few meters from the sea and in the center, an internet point available, but you can only use it while standing, fine cuisine, the only drawback that the owner awaits customers in the evening, we who pull a little 'late made us feel a little guilty.

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August 28: visit to Pistoia and we immediately realize that we happened on the wrong day (Wednesday), in fact, there was the market, a normal local market, including fruit and vegetables, which occupies most of the streets of the Old Town, not only with the sales counters, but also with the vans leaning against the walls, so the center and its narrow streets lose all their charm, if you go to visit Pistoia avoid Wednesdays and Saturdays, a Pistoian told us that Attempts to move the market elsewhere have been unsuccessful.

While from the station we go to the Duomo, we notice the splendid walls, we visit the Church of S. Domenico, St Paul's Church, both of the period 1200-1300, with frescoes of the fourteenth century, interesting even if by painters unknown to us, then we enter the historic center, with its narrow streets, we arrive in Piazza Duomo, where we visit the Cathedral of S. Zeno, whose origin dates back to the sixth century, the interior is majestic, three naves, we particularly liked the chapel of judgment with an interesting fragment of fresco, the chapel of SS Sacramento work attributed to Verrocchio, we were thrilled to see the Silver dossal of S. Jacopo, it is a silver altar, which consists of 628 small carved figures, the work of various artists and goldsmiths from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century (including Brunelleschi), also mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy (canto XXIV), the altar can be visited against payment of 2 euros and with the presence of the sexton who turns on the lights (not to be missed).

Il Baptistery we have only partially seen it, considering that it is being renovated both outside and inside, you can enter but you can only see scaffolding.

We have lunch in a bar, then we continue with the visit to the church of S. Francesco (frescoes by Pietro Gerini), the front of the Spedale del Ceppo, churches of S. Francesco, of Sant'Andrea (beautiful the Arbor of Pisano, of San Giovanni Fuoricivitas (Arbor by Guglielmo da Pisa and holy water stoup attributable to the Pisano school.

Return with the usual train.

Massaciuccoli Lake and Torre del Lago Puccini

August 29: In the morning beach life, then in the early afternoon, while my husband went to sleep, and does not give up the trip on the internet, I do not give up my ecological vocation, and I go by bus to the Massaciuccoli lake and Puccini's villa, where I have wanted to go for a long time.

Public buses are frequent and very punctual, however Torre del Lago and lake of the same name leaves one every half hour (cost 0,90).

The route is fast, very pleasant because immediately outside the city, we are immersed in a splendid and luxuriant nature, flowers and plants, and, parallel to it, the marvelous pine forest to the west.

Arrived at Torre del Lago, the bus takes a long avenue, the eye immediately catches a glimpse, in the middle of the green, the expanse of the lake.

In the small port a boat is ready to leave for the swamp, located inside a natural park.

The boat moves slowly in a dense network of natural canals, rich in swamp vegetation, and reeds.

As the boat proceeds, we are told about the natural environment and the life of the great musician Giacomo Piccini.

We cross the lake, go down and head to the Puccini house museum, visits with audio guide are every hour.

In villa personal objects of the musician, both related to hunting and to meetings with friends, writings of his correspondences, texts of musical compositions, his pianos and his tomb in the internal family chapel.

Apuan Alps

In the morning usual beach life while in the afternoon, while my husband takes a ride to Viareggio, obviously including the internet cafe, I took the bus to Pietrasanta and there I found the connection for Seravezza, village at the base of the marvelous Apuan Alps, a well-known marble processing center.

After walking along the torrents and visited the churches, located along the route, I went up to the Medici palace (XNUMXth century), formerly a holiday place for the Grand Dukes of Toscana, now a museum, in a green park always close to the stream.

Along the way, I saw the marked blocks of marble, awaiting sorting and processing.

Looking at the blocks I was thinking about looking for Michelangelo that he chose already glimpsing the shapes of his creations

I visit the exhibition "L'oro delle Apuane" which continues until 7 October.

There are about a hundred works relating to the landscape and the work that for centuries has allowed themarble extraction and its transport, there are also exhibited works by Carrà, Rosai, Viani

Back to Viareggio.

Forte dei Marmi

August 31: Morning and afternoon beach life.

In the evening, taking advantage of the fact that in the months of July and August, a bus service has been set up that runs all night (3 euro ticket with free circulation throughout the night), we go to Forte dei Marmi, which is believed to be the seaside resort "More in" of the whole Versilia, many films set in this location, hundreds of motorbikes parked, of course there are also squares with pine trees, the streets are brightly lit, there are countless designer shops.

The bus is mainly used by young people who frequent the clubs on the coast, we pass in front of the famous one Shed, in front of the perennial queues to enter (… good times).

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We do a complete tour, then later we return to Viareggio.

On September 2nd, I return to Turin.

Versilia pictures and photos

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