Forte dei Marmi is one of Italy’s most glamorous seaside towns. It’s located on the part of the Tuscan coast called Versilia and around about the 1980s it started becoming a summer destination for the rich and famous.
In the town you’ll find trendy boutiques, and expensive restaurants frequented by nouveau riche Russians. Locals, in understated elegance often are accompanied by impeccably groomed dogs.
The long seaside promenade has an orderly division between bike and pedestrian paths. Here you’ll see Liberty villas behind walls, shaded by umbrella pines or palm trees. The beach is long and flat like a homemade pappardelle noodle and from anywhere on it you can admire a stunning view of the Apuan Alps with their white marble tops heaving up behind the town.
Before it became such a chic destination, Forte dei Marmi attracted artists and literary figures. Starting with Michelangelo in the early 16th century who brought marble from the mountains down to the beach, to be loaded onto ships. In the mid-1900s Henry Moore the British sculptor came, as did the British intellectual Aldous Huxley who was a friend of my British grandfather.
I visited it on a sunny December day with friends, after my landlady told me that Christmas market there is “il top.” The market was quite impressive and I also enjoyed walking to the end of the pontile (pier) and watching the surfers. It made me feel like I was back home in Santa Cruz.
Have a look at my video to see scenes of the Christmas market, the surfers, and the look of Forte dei Marmi’s beach in off season.