Forte dei Marmi, on Northern Tuscany’s Versilia Coast, is often referred to as the Hamptons of Italy. Just as New Yorkers head to the seaside when summer debuts, wealthy Italians from Florence, Milan, and Genoa descend on Forte dei Marmi for balmy summer air. The population of 7,700 triples in July and August when the town becomes a people-watching mecca.
The town has everything you could ever need and then some. Sidewalks are literally paved in creamy marble. Forte dei Marmi’s streets are lined with well-heeled shoppers laden with bags from Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Roberto Cavalli, just to name a few. There are no high-rises, just tidy pastel beach clubs set against the backdrop of the majestic Apuan Alps.
The peaks are skirted by thick, fragrant pine forests, pampered pooches, and chatty pelotons. We feel so charmed to be here in the fall when most of the villas are closed for the winter and the weekenders still make an appearance. The Wednesday market is overflowing with designer labels and the aroma of earthy Italian leather and linen.
Our children anticipate sunny Sundays in Forte when Piazza Marconi is full of kids driving “piccolo Porsches” or real ponies around the circle. It is a gelato-filled, designer-clad party every weekend and there is truly something for everyone.
If you would rather not be part of the jet-set, this town, off-season delivers jaw-dropping natural beauty as far as the eye can see. Most days, we run for miles on the beach watching fishermen at their craft and finding treasures washed up by the crashing Ligurian Sea. If we do feel the itch to explore, Lucca, Florence, Cinque Terra, Pisa, and Milan are all easy day trips.
For now, we are content with empty surf and magnificent sunrises and sunsets that we organize our days around. We embark on lazy beachcombing excursions where many important questions about life are discussed. This is the place we will always remember as the place our past year came into focus.
Each day, the meaning of this life we have built and this adventure we are on becomes clearer and more vibrant. Perhaps that is why people retreat to the sea. When the “to do’s” of city life become burdensome, the seaside liberates.
Of course, the feeling of freedom is possible from many vantage points but the seaside makes it a breeze…