The biggest tourist attractions of Viareggio are its beautiful beaches and its carnival, but lovers of architecture can also admire the villas and the art nouveau hotels. The harbour is one of the most interesting of its kind in Italy. Several of the main sights are located in Torre del Lago Puccini, a frazione of Viareggio itself.
Tourist Attractions Viareggio
The coast of Viareggio is one of the most famous in Italy and the fine sand of its beaches and clarity of its water have been earning the city the coveted “Blue Flag” award for years. It is not a coincidence that especially the wealthier Italians populate the numerous bathing establishments during the summer months. The beach is also famous for windsurfing and water skiing.
The Torre Matilde is the oldest building in Viareggio and is considered to be the symbol of the city. Built as a watchtower, it later became a prison and is now a cultural centre. In the 18th century the tower survived being struck by lightning, an event which is still commemorated every year.
Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery (GAMC)
Viareggio‘s GAMC (Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea “Lorenzo Viani”) is a contemporary art space in the center of town. A big part of the collection of this museum is taken up by the local artist Lorenzo Viani. The entire collection consists of more than 3000 works by 20th century European artists.
The Villa Argentina is considered the best example of modernist architecture in Viareggio. After a long restoration, the villa was recently opened for exhibitions and other events. A highlight is the so-called “Hall of Mirrors”.
Viareggio‘s dock is one of the main attractions of the town. This Darsena, or Vialone runs along the sea and boasts 14 establishments, plus many clubs, cafés, cocktail bars, restaurants and other eateries. At the harbour you can see both luxury yachts and old fishing boats.
Address: Viale Europa.
Pineta di Ponente
The Pineta di Ponente was planted in 1747 to protect the coast of Viareggio from the waves and winds coming in from the Tyrrhenian Sea. This park, which stretches to the northern part of the city is crossed by several cycle and pedestrian paths. In the summer months the Viale Capponi inside this park is lined by stalls where craftsmen sell their wares. The Laghetto degli Cinghi (“Swan lake”) can be found in the middle of the park.
Viareggio‘s Carnival Museum is located inside the modern Cittadella del Carnevale, in the northern part of the city. It consists of 16 sheds that hold the famous carnival carriages. Guided tours are organized in this museum, which was founded in 2001. Throughout the year the Carnival Museum is used as a cultural and entertainment centre.
Address: Via Santa Maria Goretti. Tel. +39 0584 51176.
Viale Giosué Carducci
The Viale Giosué Carducci is the Lungomare of Viareggio. This promenade is lined with restaurants, bars and clubs and all kinds of shops. At the same time this 2km long pedestrian street offers beautiful views over the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Torre del Lago Puccini
Several of Viareggio’s tourist attractions are found in the frazione Torre del Lago Puccini, birthplace of the famous composer.
Villa Puccini is located on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli, in the hamlet of Torre del Lago Puccini. The sober exterior belies the sumptuous interior decorations. A highlight is the small Japanese style garden, while the Villa Puccini Museum is dedicated to the composer Giacomo Puccini, who lived here from 1891 to 1921.
Address: Viale Puccini 266 (Torre del Lago). Opening hours: March 10.00-12.30 and 14.30-17.30 April-May 10.00-12.30 and 15.00-18.00 June-October 10.00-12.30 and 15.00-18.30. Closed: November. Admission: 5 €; 3 € for groups of at least 15 people; 1,50 € for children aged 7 to 10; free for children younger than 7. Partial accessibile for disabled people.
Lago di Massaciuccioli
The Lake of Massaciuccoli itself belongs mostly to the village of Torre del Lago Puccini. This coastal lake is characterized by a partly marshy environment, although many of these marshes have been drained over the centuries. Thanks to its wealth of flora and fauna it is a protected nature area.
The Villa Borbone is a beautiful nineteenth century building in the frazione Torre del Lago. It was built by the architect Lorenzo Nottolini for Maria Luisa di Borbone, Duchess of Lucca. The building is surrounded by a large park with a central driveway. Nowadays the villa is owned by the Municipality of Viareggio and hosts conferences, art exhibitions and other cultural events.