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Shopping, Parking & Getting around

  • Punta Ala and Forte dei Marmi are the resorts for designer shopping, including around Punta Ala’s sleek marina. For fun, browse Forte’s Wednesday market on Piazza Marconi for everything from mink coats to stylish bed-linen and swimwear, or top designer fashion to fakes. In summer there’s an additional Sunday market, held on the same square. If peckish while shopping, grab crunchy snacks of foccaccia or `pizza a taglio’ (pizza by the slice) from Da Valé, a popular bakery (Piazza Garibaldi 4, Forte dei Marmi, T: 0584 89361). Unlike Forte, Viareggio offers a broader range of everyday shopping, even if there’s plenty of designer shopping, too.

  • Profumeria Walchiria

    This Art Nouveau, retro-style perfumery doesn’t seek to dazzle with designer scents but with niche fragrances. The knowledgeable proprietor willingly weaves spells around the perfumes, recounting the history of their creation and matching the right perfume to the right client.

    Address: Piazza Massimo d’Azeglio 62, 55049 Viareggio
    Tel: 0584 45069
    Web: www.walkirialaprofumeria.com

  • Super-Tuscan wine route

    Shopping in much of Maremma is wine-related. This is shopping `on the hoof’ in the form of wine trails. Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Grattamacco and Le Macchiole are among the best of the Costa degli Etruschi’s so-called Super Tuscans. Many estates welcome visitors for wine-tasting and vineyard tours. At Cecina, south of Castiglioncello, take the inland road to medieval Bolgheri, a pocket of the Maremma fashionable for the Super Tuscans. These include the highly prized Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Solaia. To many wine experts, this is the future of Tuscan winegrowing.

  • Rocca di Frassinello

    In Maremma, one wine star is Rocca di Frassinello, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, a wine with the elegance of Bordeaux and the robustness of Tuscany. The winery, likened to “a flying carpet landing on rolling hills,” is designed by Renzo Piano, Italy’s `starchitect’. After touring the cellars, sip these fine wines, as princely as the best Bordeaux.

    Address: Localita Poggio alla Guardia - Giuncarico Scalo, Gavorrano (Maremma/Grosseto)
    Tel: 0566 88400
    Web: www.castellare.it

  • Parking & Getting around

    Most Tuscan towns operate a strict ZTL system, a Limited Traffic Zone. This means that the Centro Storico (historic centre) is essentially closed to traffic, particularly for non-residents. Cars will need to be left outside this zone. Forte dei Marmi’s ZTL covers a larger area in summer so expect more restrictions then.  That said, coastal parking is generally more straightforward than in Tuscany’s art cities and medieval hill-towns.

    Advice on ZTLs:
    You may see other cars crossing the ZTL boundary (Limited Traffic Zone) and assume you can proceed. Not so. The drivers crossing into the ZTL zone will probably be locals and have residents’ permits. Visitors do not so are liable to fines. Zones are monitored by cameras, so tickets are issued immediately and automatically, as soon as (and each time) the car crosses the ZTL boundary. 

    Forte dei Marmi provides easier parking options than do many Tuscan towns, except at peak periods. Parking is in short supply during the regular Wednesday morning market and during the seasonal Sunday morning market. Good parking options are generally on the seafront, around Viale Italico (free) and (paying) on Viale della Repubblica. (See Forte dei Marmi guide for more).

    Viareggio provides easier parking options than do many Tuscan towns, except at peak periods. You might well find parking close to the main promenade but it tends to be paid parking (mostly running from 8am to 8pm). Alternatively, there are park-and-ride car parks (with free bus links) close to the sea and the main promenade. (See Viareggio guide for more).

    For more on transport in Viareggio (and also Lucca Province in general), contact Mover: T: 0584 427021 and www.moverspa.it

    Punta Ala is very strict about parking, especially in high season. See the advice below:
    http://www.marinadipuntaala.com/en/content/parking-areas

    Getting there & getting around:
    Getting there: If you’re arriving in Viareggio from the A12 motorway, leave at the Viareggio-Camaiore exit. Make your way onto the Aurelia SS1 road, following signs to a convenient car park, such as Largo Risorgimento.

    By car:
    From Viareggio it’s only a 14km drive (or cycle ride) to Forte dei Marmi. Pisa is around 23km south while Lucca is around 28km west and Florence is 110 km distant but a manageable drive for a day trip. In the Maremma, on the southern coast, Siena is the most obvious big city attraction.

    By train:
    Viareggio station is set on the western edge of the city. It’s on the Florence-Lucca line and reasonably well-connected.

    By bike:
    At the main car parks, such as Largo Risorgimento, you can find free bikes, linked to a handy local bike-sharing scheme you can sign up to (via MO.VER, via Regia 4 - 55049 Viareggio, T: 0584-427021 & www.moverviareggio.it)

    You can cycle to Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta and Lido di Camaiore. For details of cycling routes, check the Forte dei Marmi resort website and tourist office: (via Spinetti 14, 55042 Forte dei Marmi. T: 0584 28029 & www.comune.fortedeimarmi.lu.it)

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