The best seaside resorts of Versilia
Sun, sea and… umbrellas. Here are Versilia’s best-known beach clubs
A game of tennis, spaghetti with clams and a glass of fizz under the awning, a friendly chat, a game of cards… Days on the beach in Versilia have their own rhythm and their own rituals. And they’ve been more or less the same for years. Boring? Absolutely the opposite – it’s very reassuring to know that even after a sojourn on the other side of the world, you can come back and find your old friends here for a cocktail at sunset. As with all rituals worthy of the name, those of Versilia also have their temples – the beach clubs. Side by side, in a line from Viareggio to Cinquale interrupted only by the occasional stretch of public beach, they are a small piece of the personal history of families who have been coming here for decades. We’re going to tell you about the cult beaches.
Let’s start at the storied Bagno Balena in Viareggio, perhaps the oldest in Italy. Established in the late 1920’s, Bagno Balena was built entirely of wood, with a large archway marking the main entry to the lido. The arch is still there, but inside the concept has moved with the times to include a swimming pool, gym, spa and restaurant as well as the traditional beach tents and umbrellas.
Also in Viareggio is Bagno Pinocchio: bought by a far-sighted Prato businessman in 1954, he named it Pinocchio to please his three children. The beach club is still owned and managed by the same family, and combines tradition and style like few others in Versilia. Chef of the excellent restaurant is Sabina, the founder’s granddaughter.
The Bagno Silvio at Forte dei Marmi has almost a century of life because he was born in 1919 and has been managed by the family Dazzi passing from father to son until today in which the management is entrusted to the fifth generation with Gianluca that deals with family professionalism of the restaurant . The environment is very private. The Dazzi family is not allowed to gossip. The kitchen, the family imprint, features regional dishes with raw materials at Km. 0 especially with regard to certain types of fish, fruits and vegetables. Even the pasta and sweets in addition to the traditional flat bread are homemade. To choose fish but also meat. Do not miss the Silvio's anchovies, spaghetti with clams or maltagliato with red shrimp and then the imperial fried inevitable with regular oil EVO change. Important wine list with a wide selection of Champagne.
Bagno Le Gazzelle in Marina di Pietrasanta is a small elite club where everyone knows everyone. No umbrellas, just tents placed 4 metres apart, because privacy is even more important where everyone is friends! This too is a family-run business. Bought by Anna and Luciano in 1951, today it is run by the second generation, Paolo, Gianna and Francesca.
In the same area we also find Bagno Texas – recently completely renovated, it has 60 tents on 3,500 sq.m. of fine sand and 60 cabanas with private toilet and shower and a safe. The jewel in its crown is the terrace with a breathtaking 360-degree view, and the restaurant, which from this year has been taken over by Giacomo Corti, patron of the renowned Il Locale and Cestello RistoClub restaurants in Florence.
If you walk along the seashore, you will recognize Bagno Twiga by the photographers stationed nearby on the lookout for celebrities. Without doubt one of the more glamorous beaches, it is a snow-white, luxurious oasis. Its club has been a landmark on the Versilia nightlife scene for years.
A few metres further on is Bagno Piero, where understatement is the order of the day, making it the buen retiro of many businessmen and big names in politics and finance who come to Versilia. Every now and then its chic and extremely reserved clients treat themselves to a plate of spaghetti with clams in the Alle Boe restaurant on the public beach next door.
The same understated luxury can be found at Bagno America, where Paolo and Marcella, who opened it in the early ‘Seventies, are still there to welcome their guests. Today as in the past, a cabana houses the little bar.
Bagno Vittoria is a like a living room overlooking the sea, or rather, at one with the sea. The delightful atmosphere of summer is embodied by the elegant blue and white décor, with wickerwork, flowers and lemons, candles, sofas and big cushions. An inviting place from morning to sunset, where if you are just passing through Versilia, it is worth stopping for a lunch of freshly-caught fish and home-made pasta and desserts. Riccardo and his warmly smiling wife Melania will be waiting to welcome you.
For some years now Bagno Annetta has held the title of the trendiest meeting place for the rich and famous on the coast – swimming pool, gym, restaurant and a beach with white tents that look like the bungalows of a Caribbean getaway make Annetta more like an exclusive club than a traditional lido. Being a guest here means you’re likely to have footballers, models, actors and tycoons just off their luxury yachts as next door tent neighbours.
Cinquale or Ibiza? The Beach Club has duplicated the style of Ibiza’s famous Blue Marlin - chiringuito, solarium and a pool next to the sea make it a favourite place for the young, energetic crowd.