A Protective Fort
Forte dei Marmi is one of the four municipalities of Ancient Versilia together with Pietrasanta, Seravezza and Stazzema and is a popular holiday destination that owes its name to the small fort that stands in the centre of the city and was built by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopoldo I of Lorraine. The fort was built for the purpose of defending the growing town and the shipping port from pirate raids. Before construction was finished in 1788, the area was known as Magazzino. The second part of the name of this town recalls the marble that was transported down to the pier from the Apuan Alps, that stand above the town, to be boarded and shipped by sea.
Both the fort and the pier are two of the most important symbols of Forte dei Marmi or simply Forte, as they call the town in Versilia. Today the fort hosts temporary exhibitions on the ground floor and on the first floor there is the Museum of Satire and Caricature that houses exhibits from all over the world.
A Pier to open up the world
As for the Pier, on the other hand, it is the most ancient in all Versilia and was once used as a loading place for blocks of marble from the Apuan Alps. Today it is a popular place for walks to breathe the sea air and watch the horizon and beautiful sunsets. Even with our back to the sea, the view is unforgettable: you can see the Apuan Alps that are well outlined and stand proudly reaching up to the sky. Around the pier there is the Forte dei Marmi beach with a fine golden sand, which writers, poets and artists fell in love with during the last century. It is a long beach, broken up by wooden constructions that overlook the sea promenade.
Luxury and tradition in the historic centre
Forte dei Marmi has a modern urban area that consists of a grid of tree-lined streets and lots of greenery, especially pine trees, oaks, boulevards and villas with big gardens. Even Piazza Marconi, in the very centre of the town, is a circular pine forest enclosed by an asphalted ring where you can go for a ride on horseback or in a carriage. Continuing the tour through the streets of the town you realise that you can find luxury international tourism here, where big names and exclusive boutiques alternate with gourmet restaurants and trendy clubs. In short, if you love shopping and nightlife Forte dei Marmi is the place for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer something more affordable, do not miss out on the weekly market every Wednesday morning, the most famous market in Versilia. Here you can buy all kinds of items, from cheap cashmere clothes and big brands at discounted prices.
Villas and events in Forte dei Marmi
In addition to the historical centre of Forte dei Marmi, you can visit the Roma Imperiale district, famous for villas designed by architects such as Giovanni Michelucci, Gio Ponti and Giuseppe Pagano, where, among other things, there is Villa Agnelli, now a luxury hotel. Forte dei Marmi is also known for the famous Capannina di Franceschi, a nightclub opened in 1929 and still operating today. In Vittoria Apuana, there is Villa Bertelli, a venue for exhibitions and concerts, and the memorial house of the sculptor Ugo Guidi, which houses a large part of his works and where there are often temporary exhibitions.
Being in Forte dei Marmi in late August means seeing it at its best for the feast of the patron saint, Sant’Ermete. On the evening of 27 August a ritual fire is lit in the central Piazza Garibaldi and on 28 August there is a big fair in the late evening followed by a fireworks display on the pier that is a bit like a farewell to summer.