On our last trip to Florence, Jason and I took an AM train and spent a day in the seaside city of Viareggio. Located on the Tyrrhenian Sea, Viareggio was initially established as a port for the neighboring city of Lucca and is known for its shipbuilding industry.
Viareggio is also known for the ‘Carnivale di Viareggio,’ whose parade was first organized by wealthy citizens of the city and held in 1873. The first parade was not all celebration, however, and turned into a protest when some of the city’s citizens refused to be forced into paying high taxes and wore masks to the parade in protest. The red and white adorned clown, Burlamacco, has greeted carnival guests since 1931 and his colors were chosen as a nod to the traditional beach umbrella colors of the city.
We started our day in traditional Italian fashion, with a cappuccino and a (ridiculously delicious, chocolate-and-hazelnut-filled) pastry. We spent the rest of our day appreciating the city’s charm and stunning art nouveau architecture via “La Passeggiata,” a promenade which spans 3 kilometers and is filled with restaurants, gelaterias, and shops. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the beach which concluded with a lunch of seafood pasta, Aperol spritzes, and a seaside view. We ended our day with what else? Gelato.