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Marina di Pisa – for a seaside break

  • Marina di Pisa – for a seaside break

    If you feel like a day out at the seaside, then you can reach the Pisan coat in under an hour’s drive. From San Miniato, follow the direct route west, which takes you just south of Pisa. From here, a pretty road fol¬lows the River Arno to the sea. About 6 km (4 miles) southwest of Pisa, it passes San Piero a Grado, a fine basilica which would once have overlooked the sea. ¬Legend has it that this is the spot where St Peter first set foot on Italian soil. Once at the coast, 12 km from Pisa, you can visit the resort of Marina di Pisa, if only for a stroll along the café-lined promenade. If you’re lucky, there are distant views of the islands of Gorgona and Capraia. A stroll along the Lungomare (seafront) is particularly inviting in high season or on holidays when the promenade is closed to traffic. The seafront is lined with bathing establishments and beach restaurants. Feast on a fried seafood platter or the local speciality, spaghetti with tiny clams, known as pasta con le Arselle. The beaches, which range from sandy to pebbly, are now protected by breakwaters to combat erosion.

    Just north of Marina di Pisa is the mouth of the River Arno, known as the Bocca d'Arno (or Boccadarno). It’s worth visiting the river estuary to see the strangely enveloping fishing nets called `retoni’. This peaceful area marks the start of the extensive coastal parkland, the Parco di Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli, which begins on the far bank of the river. In the same regional park is Pisa’s newish marina, framed by pine groves, and with views of the mountains. This Porto di Pisa was created in 2013 to give Pisa a proper marina and yacht club only ten minutes away from the city.

    Tirrenia, 5 km further down the coast from Marina di Pisa, offers a stretch of pine forest, with the two resorts also linked by a bike path. Both Marina and Tirrenia are pleasant resorts but still underwhelming compared with the more upmarket Forte dei Marmi or Viareggio, both of which are further away, but still possible on a day trip, Still, if you’re sated of art and architecture, a beach break in Marina makes a pleasant day out, especially punctuated by a seafood lunch.

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