Boiling temperatures, blazing sun and bumper-to-bumper highway traffic means only one thing: the annual great migration has begun. With bags packed and cars loaded, Italian city-dwellers move to the seaside to escape the sweltering heat and to indulge in the glorious tradition of summer vacanza al mare.
all photos by Cassie Prena of Captured Holidays
I live in Prato. So, during the summer I head with the crowds westward to the sea-hugging spiagge in Versilia. Here, the rhythm of daily life unwinds as we Tuscans ditch our cars for bikes, work-desks for lounge chairs and open piazzas for beaches, embracing the joys of bagno living.
From chic luxury to family-friendly havens, the coast of Versilia is spotted with diverse bagni (beach clubs) to satisfy every Tuscan. Trekking down from Forte di Marmi to Viareggio, you’ll find each establishment’s personality, amenities and clientele morph with the unique color of each bagno’s perfectly lined umbrellas. It’s under these shady parasols where the real relaxation takes place. Catch up on reading. Snack on a packed lunch. Relish a cool seaside breeze. Gossip with friends. After all, it’s these beach bagni that can make and break your summer clique.
So, where will you find me this summer? If I’m not basking under my rented umbrella, I’ll be biking down to my favorite ‘free-beach’. At the southern edge of Viareggio hide the ‘wild’ sandy shores of Darsena. There are no bagni here. A beach towel, your own umbrella and a filled cooler are this spiaggia’s ingredients for a perfect beach day.