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What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Admire the yachts docked at the harbour, wander the woods such as the Pineta di Levante or Pineta di Ponente (Picture 2) with their numerous trails: Viareggio is not short of options. The main tourist information office (tel. 0584 96 22 33;  www.versilia.turismo.toscana.it;  Viale Carducci 10,  9am-2pm; 3 to 7.30pm Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm Sun) will give you an informtion leafelt for free with complete information about other towns on the coast and mountain villages.
Its kiosks are located at the railway station (Open 9.30am, to 12.30pm Mon-Fri, to 12.30 and 4-6pm Sat and Sun) on the waterfront (Open 10am-12.30pm and 4-7pm only summer, closed Mon).
Viareggio´s beaches are very attractive covered with golden sand and dotted with cafes and playgrounds for children. Most of the beaches are parcelled. There you can rent cabins, umbrellas and sun-umbrellas. Only a stretch which is in front of Piazza Mazzini is public.
Among the buildings on the seafront are Gran Caffè Margherita (Picture 3) (tel. 0584 96 25 53 www.ristorantemargherita.it; Viale Regina Margherita 30 ), the century old boutique Chalet Martini and  the public baths Bagno Balena. Its style is immediately recognizable. Tempting Ice-cream parlours also line the seafront.
For a change from land you can rent a boat built or renovated in Viareggio’s shipyards.
The hangars which total 16 are situated at Citadella di Carnevale (tel.0584 5 11 76; Via Santa Maria Goretti). Entry is free of charge. Here floats are prepared annually in five months with expertise. Fabulous gigantic papier-mâché creatures reaching 20m in width and 14m in height decorate these hangars. You may find models of politicians (Picture 1) or  famous characters walking freely around the hangars. These enormous floats can often  transport 200 people during the carnival.
If you want to find out more about  how the giant heads and walking masks are made and the history of the carnival head for Museo del Carnevale (open 3.30-5.30pm Sat Dec-May, 9.30am-1.30pm carnival Sundays February).
Lasting four weeks from February to March, Viareggio’s  carnival infuses the place with a lively, fun atmosphere (www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com). Tickets for Sundays are available at Fondazione Carnevale on Piazza Mazzini or kiosks on the circuit where the processions take place.
La Versilia, the strip on the coast from Viareggio to Ligura, is a draw for the Italians and Europeans in general and a perfect base for going to the Apuane Alps as its winding roads link to the villages in the mountains. It has been packed with buildings along the waterfront. The gay community is also welcomed here. Another way to enjoy the area is going around by bike or walking. Trekking Bike can supply information on walking and cycling trails. For online information, see the following links: www.tuscan.coast.com or www.rivieratoscana.com.





 
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