As coronavirus spreaded all over the world during Summer 2020, we decided to go for a staycation in Versilia! After our flights to Malta and Spain got canceled, we had to rearrange our Summer trips and what’s better than our beautiful country?
We enjoyed the Italian dolce vita in Tuscany in July, we spent some days in Portofino in August and then off we went to the Versilia in September.
Viareggio, the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea
Versilia is the area along the northern Tuscan coast and it includes popular destinations such as Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi. Viareggio, where we spent the first two days, is known as the “pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea”, with good reason. In the summertime, it is a chic and sought-after seaside resort, with stylish hotels, fine dining, and an upmarket clientele. Its fine sandy beaches stretch for six miles up and down the Mediterranean coast: some of them are public with open entry, and the rest are managed by private operators with all the facilities that are needed (changing rooms, restaurants, pools, etc.).
Beautiful is also its graceful Liberty (aka Art Deco) architecture. A visitor can arrange for a walking tour with a local art historian to view major Liberty buildings and learn about their significance.
Hotel Plaza e De Russie
Our stay at Hotel Plaza e De Russie was superb. This hotel is like the symbol of Viareggio and we could clearly see why! It is beautiful, chic and super clean. The staff was so accommodating. We arrived on a busy Thursday afternoon and despite no parking anywhere, they allowed us to use one of the the hotel’s designated spots and moved our car nearby when a spot opened. And during the whole stay, we’ve been spoiled with a service of the highest level and an attention to us out of the ordinary. They literally could not have been more attentive and helpful.
The rooms were very comfortable, spatious and clean. The bathroom was large, too, the bed was super cosy and the decor was modern. Finally, the position of the hotel is just perfect! It is walking distance to shops, restaurants and it is right in front of the seaside.
This hotel also features a one-Michelin-star restaurant called Lunasia and this is where we had lunch on the second day. The restaurant is led by chef Luca Landi who surprises his clients with a gourmet dining experience characterized by flair and creativity. The design is minimal but very elegant and the decor is modern.
The lunch was excellent! We were pleasantly impressed by the refinement of flavors, textures and presentation of the dishes. The sublime research and processing of raw materials is reflected in all of the dishes. Dining here is like living a multi-sensory journey through the very best of Italy’s gourmet food and wine. Our experience at Lunasia was so intense, that we can only compare it to a great concert. You know when you hear one of the famous songs, and feel the whole world knows it? The moment we tried the saber fish, we thought it’s no surprise that this dish gets proposed again and again and is a hit.
And the staff is just as amazing! The’re all very knowledgeable and kind and the finishing touches to specialties on the menu are prepared with panache and flair. There is a theatrical atmosphere in the restaurant that is designed to enchant and excite the palate.
The classic Italian charm of Forte dei Marmi
Before heading back home, we spent a full day in Forte dei Marmi. This pristine beach town has the classic Italian charm. Everything is perfect and well maintained, and the shops are incredible. The buildings are all painted in pretty pastels with palm trees and the brightest flowers lining the streets. Even if the town was relatively quiet when we got there, as the afternoon went on the Italians started flooding in for the weekend.
After some quick research, we chose the beach club where we would spend the afternoon.
Everyone there welcomed us with open arms and set us up comfortably for the day. Next, we walked the beach to see what the other clubs were up to. As we were walking you couldn’t imagine a more perfect scenario. To see the mountains in the background and the different pastel colored beach clubs lining the beach and the sparkling Mediterranean. It was like heaven.
La Magnolia Restaurant
Our staycation in Versilia ended with a fabulous dinner at La Magnolia, an incredible gourmet restaurant located at the Hotel Byron. Cristoforo Trapani, the chef of this one-star-Michelin restaurant will certainly be on his way to 2 stars in the future. The tasting menu is well worth it as chef Trapani skillfully combines the tradition and history of the Campania region, where he is from, with the particular qualities of local produce to create an amazing array of dishes.
Following the same philosophy for its interiors, luxurious and sophisticated atmospheres are developed both inside and outside, creating a continuous layout that wraps around an amazing pool to create the much-loved Italian vibes.
To make it all better, the staff is exceptionally friendly and super attentive. It was such a remarkable experience and we cannot wait to come back here!