Versilia is the northern part of the Tuscan coast, just South of the Cinque Terre. It boasts kilometres of white sandy beaches backed by the Apuan Alps to create an amazing landscape. You literally sunbathe with the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. How spectacular is that?
At night you are entirely spoilt for choice. There is the uber trendy Forte Dei Marmi, a true millionaires playground, favourited by Roman Abramovich and the rest of the World super riches.
The beauty of Forte is that it is a tiny village and nearly entirely pedestrianised so, rich or poor, young or old, everyone is on a bike as there is no other way to go around. How democratic! It is as if la Dolce Vita never stopped in this corner of the world. Little Miss G found it totally amusing and fascinating.
If you want a bit of 'speed' in relaxed Forte dei Marmi, your only choice is to rent a go kart which goes around a small park in town, but, please, whatever you do, if you care for your health and wellbeing, DO NOT let your two year old behind the wheels! There is a reason why toddlers can't drive!
If Forte dei Marmi is a bit too expensive, ostentatious or simply you have had enough of the ubiquitous cyclists ringing their bells to tell you to move, you can head off 15Kms south and spend the evening in Viareggio.
Viareggio is a much bigger town than Forte dei Marmi and it features a more traditional seaside promenade. One one side you see the beach and the boutiques, restaurants and gelaterie and on the other side of the pedestrian promenade you have palm trees, Liberty style buildings and hotels. It is a much more relaxed affair compared to trendy Forte dei Marmi and well worth a visit.
But of course if you have kids in tow, you go to Versilia for its daytime attractions as well as its night spots and what is better than kilometres of white sandy beaches equipped with sun loungers, beach umbrellas and every toy you could think of?
Little Miss G had fun aplenty blowing bubbles, eating freshly cooked butter pasta ("so English!" said the horrified Italians) and forcing us to help her digging sand castles until we were all dripping in sweat (how glamorous). We might have taken revenge by burying her in the sand once or twice...oops! All part of the fun, no?
Ultimately, the only slight let down of Versilia is the Thyrrhenian Sea. It is calm and perfect for kids, but it looks a bit murky and slightly unappealing to the adult eyes who have feasted on Sardinian and Maldivian green transparent waters. Brownish or green, Miss G couldn't care less, because all she wanted to do, above all things, was splashing around as if she was born to be a mermaid.
We had a fantastic holiday and we will recommend this part of Italy to family and friends (and blog readers, I guess). It was the first holiday when we felt like we had a child rather than a baby. Miss G would sleep between 4 and 6 pm and then party the night away with us until midnight. Here she is at dinner, enjoying the 9pm sunset over the sea.
Please don't hate me if I tell you that she would then wake up at a holiday friendly 9:50am making us rush like mad to make it down on time for 10am hotel breakfast closing time. With Miss G being at the 'big girl' (her favourite words) age of 2 and three quarter, it seems that life starts to be similar to how it used to be before this little person changed it all for a while, and for the better, of course. Happy days!