Forte dei Marmi, in the province of Lucca, is a seaside resort. It overlooks the Ligurian Sea and takes its name from the fort of the same name that rises in the center of the city.
The town is marked by a strong presence of greenery, especially pine forests and some surviving holm oak patches. Although there aren’t many public parks, the city is adorned with tree-lined avenues and villas with large gardens.
The beach of Forte dei Marmi is entirely made up of very fine golden sand. In certain periods of the year, the sea is relatively clear and transparent even out to sea.
Monuments and places of interest
In the center of the city, there is the Forte Lorenese (better known as Fortino), symbol of the town. The grand-ducal fortress, built at the end of the 18th century, is today immersed in a modern urban context consisting of a grid of tree-lined streets. Upstairs is the Museum of Satire and Caricature.
On the sea there is the loading dock, 300 meters from the coast, which was used to embark the large blocks of marble leaving for the whole world. Today it is a tourist destination and a momentary docking point for the local ferry which heads towards the nearby Cinque Terre.
In the Roma Imperiale district, there are numerous villas designed by well-known architects such as Giovanni Michelucci, Giò Ponti and Giuseppe Pagano. Among them the Villa Agnelli, today a hotel, with the underpass that leads directly to the seashore, and the famous Capannina di Franceschi disco, inaugurated in 1929 and still in operation.
The Villa Bertelli today hosts exhibitions and concert performances. Not very far from it is the memorial house of the sculptor Ugo Guidi, home to a museum in his honour. Many of his productions are kept inside, but temporary exhibitions are also held.
The religious structures found in Forte dei Marmi: the church of Sant’Ermete, that of San Francesco d’Assisi and the church of the Resurrection.
The new church of Santa Teresa is located in the hamlet of Vaiana.
The “marginette” (small aedicules that preserve an icon of the Madonna typical of Versilia) located in various parts of the town are much adored.
At the end of the 19th century many wealthy families from the hinterland descended towards the coast to benefit from the sea air. In the twentieth century the aristocratic families of Tuscany and northern Italy chose Forte dei Marmi for their summer holidays, they were then followed by high-ranking European families.
This influx allowed the birth of the first bathing establishment in 1904 called “l’Onda Marina”, still present today.
Thanks to it, numerous prominent personalities elected the city as their personal summer meeting place, giving birth to its tourist vocation. The first villas began to rise in the pine forest by the sea.
A group of intellectuals and artists came to life, Quarto Platano, who met daily to discuss culture and art.
The tourist boom occurred after the war, especially in the sixties when more and more families began to build numerous beach houses and book hotels.
Today the vocation of elite tourism remains alive as the area is frequented by wealthy entrepreneurs, freelancers, industrialists, politicians, celebrities, sports and finance.