Where to take a break at the seaside near Florence.
It’s hot! This week the temperature in Florence reached 38°C (100°F). The city starts to shut down for the summer break. In Italy, August is for most Italians the month of family holidays. Schools, universities, industries but also many services are closed, and people started their exodus to the seaside.
Visiting European cities in this heat is not easy. In fact, in August Florence is not as crowded as in May, June or September. But if you happened to be in town just now, you can easily take a break and organize a day trip to the beach near Florence.
It takes about 1 hour/ 1 hour 30’ to reach the seaside from Florence, depending on where you decide to go. You can use a car or take a train. Here you will find my favourite places at the coast:
Castiglioncello is a small seaside town on the coast South of Livorno, on the Tyrrhenian sea. The train station is just 10 minutes walk from the beach, so it is extremely comfortable. The train ride from Florence takes 1 hour 50 minutes but if you have a car, the ride will be much shorter.
Castiglioncello is a wonderful place for all these who love “wild” seaside, for people who look for nature, some rocks and no crowds. The beaches with sand are really tiny there and they are used by families with children. I usually go to the rocky part of the coast where only few people decide to relax. I put my little mattress down and listen to the sound of the waves.
Between the beach and the train station you will find a big park with huge pine trees that give shade during the hottest hours of the day. There are picnic tables there, benches and grass so it’s really a nice place where to relax after sunbathing.
In Castiglioncello you will also find few “stabilimenti balneari”, which are paid beaches. You can rent your umbrella and your deck chair there and enjoy the sea in a more comfortable manner.
Along the beach you will find few bars and restaurants.
If you love comfort and you want to relax under your own umbrella, you may want to go to Viareggio, the closest coast town in terms of distance from Florence, located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Viareggio is famous because of its “bagni”, paid beaches where you get a deck chair and an umbrellas, and where you’ll find bars and restaurants.
Viareggio developed quickly at the beginning of the 20th century, when the beach tourism started to expand. This is when a 3 km-long promenade along the coast was built and when many Art Nouveau villas appeared in the town.
The train ride to Viareggio takes about 1 hour 30 minutes. The coast is about 10-15 minutes walk from the station (about 1 km).
Marina di Pisa
Marina di Pisa has a long, beautiful beach covered with white quartz stones. It is not as crowded as Viareggio and you will not find paid beaches here.
If you choose to get there by train, after you get to Pisa you have to get on the bus to Marina di Pisa that departs from the bus station “Sesta Porta”. The train ride to Pisa takes about 1 hour, the bus ride to Marina di Pisa takes another 20 minutes.
In Marina di Pisa you will find a very long beach with a promenade along the coast, bars and restaurant. Part of this beach is prepared also for families, with sand and easy access to the water.
San Vincenzo is a bit farther South than the other places I have mentioned. It takes 2 hours 30’ to get there by train. In San Vincenzo you will find both paid beaches and some free beach covered with sand. If you’re traveling with your dog, you can even find there a dog beach where your best friend will be the most welcome guest.
San Vincenzo is a place for these who love nature and for these who instead of sunbathing prefer to walk. On the South of the town you will find Rimigliano natural park with walking itineraries through wild nature.
Forte dei Marmi
If instead of nature you enjoy clubs, restaurants and nice shops, Forte dei Marmi is a place for you! Known for its historical discos, very popular among the VIP guests, Forte dei Marmi is probably the most lively among the beaches near Florence.
The most famous disco in Forte dei Marmi is La Capannina, which during the years of the Italian economic boom, the 1960s and the 1970s, hosted Édith Piaf, Patty Pravo and Ray Charles. La Capannina is still open and the interiors remained unchanged from the times of its glory.
The train ride from Florence to Forte dei Marmi takes around 1 hour 40’ and you have to get off at the station Forte Dei Marmi-Seravezza-Querceta.
Remember, when you plan your train rides in Italy, you can always use the Trenitalia website: www.trenitalia.it . It gives you the possibility to check the schedule and to book your train tickets. Remember that if you buy your tickets for regional trains (treni regionali) at the train station, in self-service machine or at the desk, these tickets have to be validated before you board the train. The validation machines are normally located at the beginning of each platform.