Nestled on the coast of northern Tuscany with the picturesque Apuan Alps as a backdrop, it’s easy to get lost in the captivating beauty of Forte dei Marmi. An hour outside of Florence, Forte dei Marmi is a popular getaway for locals. The name “Marmi” translates to Marble and reflects the rich history of the region, long known for its marble filled mountains (also where the famous Carrara marble is sourced). In September, I was able to spend a long weekend in this seaside town (a much needed post lockdown escape), with the guidance of my friend and seasonal Forte dei Marmi resident Ginevra (@ginginna11) to discover the very best the area has to offer.
Start your holiday the Italian way, with an Aperitivo at Hotel Principe. The rooftop offers great views of the ocean and the mountains, best paired with a glass of local wine. This is a perfect place to view the famous Tuscan sunsets. For dinner, walk across the street to the hotel’s restaurant on the beach, Dalmazia, for a meal that celebrates the very best of Tuscan flavors.
Head into the city center for a croissant and espresso at one of the many curbside cafes lining the streets of Forte dei Marmi. It’s easy to get lost in the incredible shopping they have here, from small boutiques to luxury brands like Prada, Missoni and Off-White. For lovers of luxury and Italian fashion, a quick trip to well-known boutique, Fiacchini, is a must.
When the buzz of your morning espresso starts to fade, book a day pass at one of the many buzzing beach clubs that line the coast (there are also a few nearby free public beaches). Unlike many other Italian seaside spots, the coast here is flat with soft sand and gentle waves, setting it apart from the stone filled beaches often found on the rest of the Italian coast.
In the evening go to Ristorante Gilda at the Gilda Beach Club, don’t leave without trying the Tagliolino with scampi and black truffle. After dinner grab a drink and people watch (you can easily spend hours admiring the fashion of the impeccably dressed local weekenders) at bars like Morin or Almarosa.
Take a picturesque drive along the winding Tuscan coast to the seaside village of Porto Venere in Cinque Terre. Featuring a wall of colorful buildings overlooking a bustling harbor, this medieval town is a perfect day trip.
After wandering through the labyrinth of small streets, staircases and passageways, walk to the harbor and find the free boat to take you to Locanda Lorena, a restaurant on a small island overlooking the village. The spaghetti ai frutti di mare is a must-try, featuring incredible local fresh seafood. After lunch, walk to one of the beaches along the island, overlooking picturesque Porto Venere.
Spend your final night in Pietrasanta, a small town next to Forte dei Marmi often dubbed the “Little Athens” of Italy. The streets of Pietrasanta are lined with sculptures, artist workshops and galleries, largely marble and bronze sculptors. Spend your evening gazing through galleries and marveling at the beauty of the local art then grab dinner at Filippo, a Michelin guide restaurant nestled in the romantic narrow streets of Pietrasanta.
Tips for Visiting
While Forte dei Marmi is bustling all summer long, I enjoyed visiting in early September as the weather was still nice but the majority of the summer crowds had left. The city is an easy 30 minute drive from Pisa Airport but also a little over an hour drive from Florence. There are plenty of hotels at different price points around the city, though AirBnb is another great option. If you’re looking to do day trips, renting a car is a good idea, though most people travel around Forte dei Marmi by bicycle which is a great way to explore like the locals do!
With beautiful beaches, breathtaking sunsets, incredible art and the best of Tuscan cuisine, Forte dei Marmi is an idyllic weekend getaway.