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The Tuscan Coast

In the annual `beach charts’ Tuscany triumphs. The region is recognised as having a superbly clean coastline, second only to Liguria’s. The beaches score highly for cleanliness of the water, safety, quietness, eco-friendliness and sustainability. Beaches are rated according to the trustworthy Blue Flags system. The sheer number of accredited beaches in Tuscany confirms the wisdom of opting for a beach break here. Not that it will ever be `just’ a beach break. What’s brilliant about the Tuscan coast is the proximity of beguiling art cities, hilltop towns and Etruscan sites. Yet given the length of the coastline and the competing claims presented by the cities of art in the hinterland, it’s best to decide on a couple of connecting coastal areas and to explore around there. Combine a villa-holiday near Viareggio with forays to Lucca and Pisa. Or, say, combine the beach at Castiglione della Pescaia with hiking in the Maremma.

The Tuscan Coast

Top Ten Things To Do

These are our Top Ten Things to Do, from basking on beaches to dolphin-watching, from cycling the seafront to visiting coastal nature reserves. Unlike many destinations, in Tuscany you can combine culture and the beach. Just don’t attempt to cover the entire coast on one trip. Choose your base carefully.

If you want to visit the classic cities of art from your seaside base, bear in mind that these are mostly more accessible from the northern coast, notably the Versilian Riviera. Typical day trips would be to Pisa, Lucca, Pistoia or Florence. Instead, if you’re based on the southern coast, in the Maremma, close to Grosseto, then Siena makes the most logical day trip, reachable in well under two hours.

The coast ranges from partying resorts to family-friendly beaches and deeply secluded bays. The northern coast, the Versilian Riviera, tends to be more manicured while the Maremma, the southern coast, is wilder and more romantic. In between stretch sweeping sandy bays, often backed by pine groves.

On the Versilian Riviera, to the north, the resorts range from posing Forte dei Marmi to boisterous Viareggio, a sun-and-sand resort popular with Italian families. Just south, closer to Pisa, are smaller, family-minded, highly affordable resorts along the Pisan Riviera (Riviera Pisana). Continuing south leads to the Etruscan Riviera (Riviera degli Etruschi). This, the Livorno coast, reveals a series of smaller resorts with sandy beaches and nearby ruins of Ancient Etruscan sites. Just south lies Grosseto province, bordered by the Maremma coast, the gateway to the wild Maremma region. Along this lovely stretch of coast, fun-loving Follonica, chic Punta Ala and Monte Argentario have all confirmed their Blue Flag beach status. Overall, Tuscany boasts 19 locations.

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