Italy’s Tuscany region lies between the cities of Rome and Genoa in the country’s central, western section along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tourists routinely flock to Tuscany's famous cities, Florence and Pisa, to explore medieval buildings and drink Italy’s famed wines, but the Tuscan coast is home to lesser-known, smaller communities with their own distinctive charms. Centuries-old cypress trees, sparkling blue waters and tiny cafes serving rich espresso make coastal Tuscany a prized destination.
Sprawling along 12 miles of Tuscany's coast, the Italian seaside village of Viareggio provides convenient access to the Tuscany Archipelago, Apuan Alps and nearby Torre del Lago lake. The calm, gentle surf invites young visitors to splash in the waters or build sandcastles. History buffs will be interested to know that the poet Shelley’s body was burned near Viareggio’s shoreline after he drowned in 1822. The art nouveau-styled Best Western Grand Hotel Royal Viareggio was constructed in the early 1900s. It offers a garden-landscaped outdoor pool, open-air restaurant and complimentary bicycles for exploring the Tuscan coast. The hotel can book fishing charters and excursions to the nearby aquarium and marble quarries.
Castiglione della Pescaia
Visitors to Castiglione della Pescaia can view Italy’s Tuscany coastline while standing near the town’s ancient castle where photographers snap shots of the castle’s towers, turrets and medieval walls. Ice cream shops, traditional Italian eateries and boisterous discothèques keep visitors entertained when not at the seashore. Originally a fishing village, Castiglione della Pescaia saw its first vacationers after World War I. Hotel Roccamare, situated between pine woodlands and the beach, offers a private beach, swimming pool, wireless Internet access, piano bar and soccer field. Guests relax in the hotel’s quiet reading room, play tennis or dine in the two on-site restaurants.
Tuscany’s coastal town of Cecina once served as an important trading outpost between Cyprus, the Phoenicians, Egyptians and Greece. Italian noblemen established the city’s pine woods to help mitigate the impact of seaside salt on nearby crops, but today’s visitors hike the pine trails or ride horses on the sand dunes. At the Hotel Tornese, guests enjoy the chef’s special “black” Tagliolini noodles flavored with octopus ink or Neapolitan-style pizza with pork sausage and turnips. Rooms feature fridges for storing chilled Tuscany wine in the summertime, Internet access and marble bathrooms.
Marina di Grosseto
An ancient watchtower, archeological sites and sandy beaches welcome visitors to coastal Marina di Grosseto. The beach’s tranquil waters make the site ideal for children and water sports enthusiasts, and there’s even a dog beach. Visitors may want to explore the wildlife wetlands of the Diaccia Batrona marshes. While seafood is prevalent, Marina di Grosseto is also a good spot to sample the region’s wild boar, hare and pheasant dishes. The Eden Park hotel features a veranda, swimming pool, on-site bar and sauna services. Choose a room or apartment suites, and ask for a balcony.
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