Most visitors to Tuscany don’t think of it as a beach destination. But many Italians head to Viareggio for sun, sand, and surf. South of the Cinque Terre, it’s an easy day trip from Lucca, Pisa, and even Florence. And there’s plenty of wine tasting nearby.

A fire destroyed much of Viareggio in 1917, and the hotels, villas, and cafes were rebuilt in the Liberty Style, as Art Nouveau is known in Italy. Most of the Viareggio hotels date from this period, although there are a couple of new, purpose-build bed and breakfasts.

The beach here is six miles long and there are more than 100 beach clubs where you can enjoy the sand and sea. The town is divided by the Burlamacca Canal. And there’s a pretty promenade, called the Passeggiata Margherita. Two wooded parks provide a cool break from the beach.

Viareggio was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, and its Carnival is one of the most popular in Italy. The most impressive building in town is the Gran Caffe Margherita which was designed by Galileo Chini.

There are several good Viareggio hotels, but a B&B in Viareggio may offer more personal service and better value for money.

Il Sole Antico, which has four guest rooms — three with private bath — in the first floor of a 1930s villa. Each of the squeaky-clean rooms is individually decorated and some have Liberty tiles and other original touches. They were recently updated with LCD TVs and WiFi Internet access. The name means “ancient sun,” and the location is convenient to the beach, the promenade, and the town. The couple who run Il Sole Antico provide attentive service and their big, friendly dog is a bonus for those who miss their pets.

When the weather is fair, the yummy Italian breakfast is served outside on the terrace.

Close to all the Viareggio attractions, B&B Burlamacco Gold is located in the pedestrian corridor. It was recently constructed and the rooms have flat-panel TVs with satellite service, WiFi, and air conditioning. All are non-smoking and have modern bathrooms with bidets, showers, and complimentary toilets.

Liberty Style in Viareggio

The staff here speaks several languages, and are happy to make restaurant and sightseeing recommendations. Bicycles are available for guests to use. Burlamacco Gold is one the most expensive B&Bs in Viareggio.

For something unique, consider Torre del Arte, which is set in a restored Liberty villa south of Viareggio in Torre del Lago Puccini. The six guest rooms are decorated with paintings inspired by Dante’s Inferno and outfitted with LCD TVs, in-room safes, and. Breakfast is served in the vaulted dining room or in the garden. Parking is available for eight cars.

Hotel Belvedere is the closest Viareggio hotel to the beach. Virtually everything in Viareggio is a short stroll away, and one of its wooded parks is behind it. The Belvedere has ten rooms, WiFi, and an on-site restaurant that specializes in local seafood. There’s a pretty terrace with views of the Mediterranean, and parking is available.

Find Lerici hotels near Viareggio.

Legend:
1) Gran Caffe Margherita
2) Il Sole Antico
3) B&B Burlamacco Gold
4)Torre del Arte
5) Hotel Belvedere

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