A Travel Guide for Italy's Forte dei Marmi

What you should know about this Tuscan beach town

Forte dei Marmi
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Forte dei Marmi in Italy is a popular travel destination largely because of its clean, sandy beaches. The resort town is located along the northern Tuscan coast between the Marinas of Ronci and Pietrasanta in an area known as Versilia. If you're thinking about visiting Forte dei Marmi or have already made travel plans, use this quick guide to get a better idea of not only what to see and do there but also where to stay.

Forte dei Marmi Beaches

Above all else, Forte dei Marmi is a resort aimed at wealthy Italians. In fact, the beach town was one of the first such resorts in Italy. Launched at the turn of the century, it has become extremely popular with royalty particularly and people privileged enough to flock to villas in the pines. Footballers are known to enjoy the beach town as well.

The number of bathing establishments is enormous, and some Forte dei Marmi beaches, such as Santa Maria Beach, have been singled out as the best topless beaches in the world. While it's not mandatory for visitors to beaches to part with their bikini tops or swim trunks, don't be alarmed if you see others doing so.

Forte dei Marmi's Famous Weekly Market

Forte dei Marmi offers its rich villa dwellers a Wednesday market that features designer clothing, a variety of leather goods, cashmere and other luxury items. The market is known for offering steep bargains, especially on reproductions of expensive clothing. The town of Forte dei Marmi is centered around the market and the marble fortress there built in 1788. That's where its name originates.

The Puccini Connection

Forte dei Marmi is close to Torre del Lago (sometimes called Torre del Lago Puccini), where Giacomo Puccini lived and wrote his operas. Today there's an open-air theater by the lake where one can enjoy Puccini's operas beneath the stars. A summer festival is held there in his honor also. It is called Fondazione Festival Pucciniano.

Getting to Forte dei Marmi

There is a train station is Forte dei Marmi, and there are a few direct trains per day from Florence's main Santa Maria Novella station. Still others connect in Pisa. The seaside town center is about 3 miles from the train station — you can catch an hourly bus or take a taxi for the short ride. Because of Forte dei Marmi's small size, if you are content to stay in town you can get by without a car. Otherwise, if you're driving, Forte dei Marmi is located on the A12 autostrada, known as the Autostrada Azzurra, which runs from Rome to Genoa.

Where to Stay in Forte dei Marmi

Most hotels in Forte dei Marmi are along the seafront or very near it, which means no matter where you stay, you're bound to have a terrific view. Some hotels have private beaches, allowing guests to have the seaside all to themselves. One thing to know: during the summer, even basic rooms go for a premium price on Tuscan beaches. It's best to reserve well in advance when rates are lower, or just figure on paying top dollar for your piece of the Tuscan sun. Also keep in mind that because Forte dei Marmi is a resort town, many hotels operate on a seasonal basis and close down from late fall to spring.

See our tips for going to the beach in Italy.

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