Versilia is a region of beach resorts and literary passion. In 1932, Italian poet Eugenio Montale found it brimming with “rubble; terraces on flat-topped houses / strung along a wave of sloping dunes; / umbrellas open under the gray sun” (“Coast of Versilia”). Thirty years earlier, D’Annunzio envisioned it in his ”Alcyone” as a “woodsy nymph”, symbol of a pristine paradise lost.
North-east of Tuscany, in the area between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Versilia has always attracted writers and artists from Italy and abroad. Byron, Shelley, Rainer Maria Rilke and Thomas Mann visited and loved this region. In 1930, the latter wrote an autobiographical novella called “Mario and the Magician”, which was the basis for a work by Italian director Luchino Visconti, set in the 1950s in a local resort.
From a historical and geographical point of view, Versilia, in the province of Lucca, is a vast alluvial plain. Up until the 1920s, it included the municipalities of Pietrasanta and Forte dei Marmi on the coastline, and Seravezza and Stazzema on the mountainside (also called “high Versilia”). Its boundaries currently also comprise Viareggio, Massarosa and Camaiore.
The graphical whim of the old banners and signs for its beach resorts (the ‘bagni’ in Marina di Massa, Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, Lido di Camaiore, Viareggio, and Torre del Lago) adds a stroke of art to the natural beauty that has always charmed poets and tourists from the world over.