• Camaiore

In the largest municipality in Versilia everyone can find what they seek: Camaiore, in fact, has both the sea and mountains, history and events throughout the year. It is a land where nature has been generous by giving it a flat cradle that, on one side, is lapped by the sea while on the other is fringed with olive trees and surrounded by the extraordinary grandeur of the mountains of the Apuan Alps.

172 kilometres of trails
40 metres: the length of each sawdust carpet
98 bathing establishments
23 villages

The ancient Campus Maior and the stories of yore
Formerly inhabited by the Etruscans and the Apuan people as attested by some archaeological finds, Camaiore became Campus Maior, a Roman military outpost. The Middle Ages was a period of great expansion for Camaiore and saw the birth of the first part of the town: it was, in fact, a stopping point along the Via Francigena which from Lucca went towards Lunigiana and the Cisa Pass. Evidence of this period can be found in the stone church of San Michele, a hostel for pilgrims, and the abbey of San Pietro, surrounded by a beautiful field and still well preserved, a place much loved by Camaiore worshippers. From then on in Camaiore and the surrounding area, churches, monasteries and palaces were built and their works of art can be admired in the Museum of Sacred Art located in the town.

A walk through the centre
The best way to discover Camaiore is by walking through the streets of its old town, such as Via di Mezzo, the main road with shops, restaurants and craft workshops with local produce (do not miss the traditional spice cakes, the scarpaccia and a plate of tordelli). About halfway down this street in the ancient town centre of Camaiore there is Piazza San Bernardino with the majestic church of Santa Maria Assunta dating back to the 13th century and its civic tower that stands over the town. Turning the gaze to the north you can see Porta San Pietro, the only one of the four original gates that still stands and testifies to that fact that Camaiore was once surrounded by walls. A little later, however, going to the area known as Prado, on the right next to the church of San Vincenzo, there is the Teatro dell’Olivo, one of the oldest theatres in the province of Lucca.

The tradition of coloured sawdust carpets
Religion, cornerstone of Camaiore’s history, here comes together with art and reaches an expressive climax in the procession of Corpus Christi celebrated with the tradition of coloured sawdust carpets. Many people from Camaiore are involved in creating these starting from the day before the celebration when, armed with sawdust and wood moulds, they make long complicated designs of about 40 metres each along the streets of the old town. In Camaiore there is no shortage of fairs and city markets, including the most important annual All Saints’ Day market.

The Via Francigena and other trails
As well as the historical centre of Camaiore, there are also 23 villages, some in the hills and others on the plain, that offer unforgettable views of the sea and are perfect for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. For the more adventurous these villages offer suitable climbing walls and fascinating sections of Via Francigena.

Beaches and relaxation in Lido di Camaiore
From the top of the peaks by which it is surrounded, just follow the relentless path of the sun as it disappears over the horizon to reach the point where Camaiore turns into beach and sea: we are in Lido di Camaiore, a pleasant seaside holiday resort, chosen by famous people since the beginning of the 20th century. The white sandy beach of Lido di Camaiore stretches for about four kilometres between Viareggio and Marina di Pietrasanta and is lined with bathing establishments, bars, restaurants and a flat promenade, ideal for families. Do not miss out on a stroll along the pier from which you can admire the sea and the mountains at the same time.