Viareggio Italy, A Day At The Beach From Florence

If you are thinking of taking a day trip during your stay in Florence Italy, consider heading out to the small city of Viareggio, along the coast of the Ligurian Sea. Just 20 km north of Pisa and about 100 km east of Florence, Viareggio is easily accessible by car or train. Trains run virtually every hour from Florence and takes less than 2 hours. Fare on the train is affordable at less than 15 Euros round trip. Once you arrive at the Viareggio station, you are just 1 km away from the beach. If you are renting a car, the trip takes just over an hour.

Coastline of Viareggio, ItalyViareggio is known to have the best beach in the Tuscan Riviera and is a favorite amongst many Italians looking for an alternative to other, more expensive Italian beaches. The drawback to the beaches at Viareggio is that they are mostly private and in order to use the beaches, one must pay a small fee of about 7 Euro to enter. You can also walk to the nearby pier and get a panoramic view of the coastline and the city.

There are plenty of other interesting things to do in Viareggio and if you happen to be in Florence during Carnival season, then you definitely have to take in the Carnival of Viareggio. Held in late February and early March, the three week long Carnival of Viareggio is one of Italy’s most famous carnivals. Colorful, flower-laden floats adorn the coastal street of Viareggio in a festival that spans over 125 years. These floats are very similar to the grandeur of the floats during Mardi Gras season in the American City of New Orleans, LA.

If you aren’t in Viareggio during Carnival season, you might want to visit the Museo Cittadella del Carnevale, where you will find interesting treasures from previous carnivals. The other important museum in Viareggio is the Museo Villa Puccini, in honor of one of Italy’s most famous composers, Giacomo Puccini. You are undoubtedly familiar with many of his famous operas such as La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Puccini lived at one time at Torre Del Lago, just 10 km south of the center of Viareggio and was born in Lucca, just 30 km east of the city. Puccini is buried at a small chapel built in his memory. During the summer months there are music festivals such as the Festival Puccini in Torre Del Lago and the Cittadella Jazz and More Festival

There is also a wide array of interesting restaurants if you are looking for places to dine, many of which are along one of Viareggio’s main streets, the Viale Daniele Manin. Two of the most popular restaurants in Viareggio are Ristorante Fubi’s and Ristorante Romano.

With so many interesting things to see in Viareggio, you can easily understand why it’s worth to take a day trip over to the coastal city. It certain that you will bring home a number of memories from beautiful Viareggio.


Lucca, A Fun Filled Day Trip From Florence, Italy

Planning a trip to the city of Florence, Italy? Be sure to make plans to spend at least a day in the lovely city of Lucca. With trains running between the two cities all day long, reaching this city is relatively easy and well worth the trip. The journey to this historic city takes approximately 80 minutes by train one way, which leaves plenty of time to visit the city and be back to your Florence apartments by the end of the day.

Piazza Anfiteatro, Lucca, ItalyLucca is entirely surrounded by walls and ramparts, providing its visitors with the sense that they are travelling back in time. Atop the walls, foot and bike paths provide tourists with a unique view of the city and the surrounding countryside. From this vantage point, travellers are able to see what soldiers defending the city saw during times of war.

Located in the Piazza San Martino, the Cathedral of St. Martin (Duomo di San Martino) is a lasting work of art that is full of tradition and history. The original church that occupied the site was replaced by the existing Cathedral in the 6th century and has undergone many changes since, including the addition of a tomb for the body of San Regolo which was added in the 8th century.

A local museum where the building is as compelling as the collections it houses is the Museo della Cattedrale. The building has several levels and contains historical objects including wooden sculptures of John the Baptist’s Head and other 16th century artwork. The museum also houses an authentic Francesco Vanni Crucifixion painting which is on display for all to see.

Arguably the most popular attraction in Lucca is the Torre Guinigi which is one of two towers still standing today. The Tower protrudes from the 14th century palace which was once the home of the ruling family of the time. The structure stands at an impressive 44 meters (144 feet) and is accessible via a 230 step stairwell. Upon reaching the top, visitors are treated to an amazing view of the Lucca skyline with the Garafagnana Mountains and Apuan Alps in the background.

Upon conclusion of taking in the sights of the city, sitting down to a nice meal before heading back to Florence is the perfect end to a perfect day. Gli Orti di Via Elisa, a pizzeria located near Porta Elisa at the easternmost gate, is both reasonably priced and full of old-world charm. With instruments lining the walls and a menu full of authentic dishes and some of the best pizza found anywhere, this is a must stop for anyone visiting the city.

When traveling to Lucca, plan on taking at least one full day to take in all the sights of this lovely city. Travelers have been known to stay on more than a single day; as such, a wide variety of accommodation is available in Lucca as well as apartments in Florence. Be sure to take a trip to this beautiful city when visiting Florence, you will not regret it.

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