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Viareggio is a city in northern Tuscany in Italy on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. With over 63,000 people it is the main centre of the northern Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia, and the second largest city in the Province of Lucca.

Viareggio is famous for the "Passeggiata", a promenade, and for the oldest Carnival in Europe, the "Carnevale di Viareggio".

Origin of the name

The city’s name comes from the Latin "via regis", the name of the Medieval road used for going to Lucca.

History of Viareggio

From the origins to 1169

In the area we can find the rest of Ligurian, and other peoples from north Italy. The area of "Ersilia", is very rich in old artifacts.


With time, Viareggio has also gained the title of Capital of Versilia. The first historical fact concerning Viareggio dates 1169 when a wooden tower guarding coast was built, however Viareggio, was in a bad area for living, how Giovanni Boccaccio spoke in his book the "Decamerone".


This century was perhaps one of the most difficult periods for the 300 inhabitants of Viareggio; the area was really bad, for the life, often people died for malaria, but however slowly Viareggio changed its appearance; two small churches and as many factories were built, followed by a number of small shops.


With the fall of Napoleon, Viareggio was the centre of several acts of violence. In March 1814 viareggini, (the people born in Viareggio) attack the French soldiers.


Viareggio remained under the control of the Austrians until 1817 when, as part of the agreements from Congress of Vienna, Maria Luisa di Borbone was assigned the new Duchy of Lucca. In 1820 Viareggio was officially proclaimed city.Carlo Ludovico di Borbone helped the city, building a new church, a royal casino and two beach resorts, the first ones to be built in Viareggio.


During these years Viareggio’s economy had a very rapid expansion about the sailboat industry.


Viareggio begins to be a place for tourism, The Passeggiata or promenade was born, with its cafés and shops, contributing to make famous the city, that after will be called friendly the "Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea".


During World War II Viareggio was subject to heavy bombings and entire suburbs of the city were destroyed.After the war, the reconstruction was really hard to do.Today Viareggio is a very nice city for tourism.

Patron Saint of the city

Patron saint of the city is Maria Santissima Annunziata


Viareggio, burlamacco
Statue of Burlamacco on Belvedere delle Maschere
Viareggio, monumento ai caduti, viani
War Memorial in Piazza Garibaldi, known as "Piazza delle Paure"
Viareggio, hotel royal, esterno 01
Monumental Fountain with the Grand Hotel in the background
  • War memorial, (piazza Garibaldi), 1927, bronze, Lorenzo Viani and Domenico Rampelli.
  • The "Madonnina", (pier), 1950, marble statue with concrete pedestal in the shape of four rudders.
  • Statue of the Madonna, (over-pass), 1956, marble statue with a stone pedestal, Nicola Arrighi.
  • Monument to Shelley, (piazza Shelley), bronze, 1894, Urbano Lucchesi. The sculpture is located near the place where the body of English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was found and cremated.
  • Monument to Giuseppe Barsanti, bronze, with marble base, 1926. The sculpture is dedicated to the first owner of the Bagno Nettuno.
  • The Sailor, (logge della Camera del Lavoro), bronze, 1991, Giovanni Lazzarini.
  • The Fisherman (mercato ittico, Marina di Levante), bronze, Giovanni Lazzarini.
  • Fisherman, (piazzetta Motto e Palmerini, Lungocanale Est), bronze, 1994, Augusto Murrer.
  • War Memorial, (piazza Palombari dell'Artiglio), 1985, Enio Francesconi.
  • Memorial to the Fallen of World War I, stone with an element in bronze, 1923.
  • Monument to the Resistance and to Peace, .
  • Low-relief to commemorate the Liberation
  • Monument to Giacomo Puccini
  • Monumental headstone
  • Monumental Fountain, 1960-1961, inaugurated in 1963, Beppe Domenici, and representing the four seasons.
  • Girl on the sand, (piazza Maria Luisa), fountain, 1938, the statue was damaged during the War, Mario Carlesi.
  • Le Oceaniche, (piazza Puccini), painted alluminium, 1993, Guido Turcato, donated to the city by the artist.
  • Monument to the fallen aviators, (piazza Maria luisa), 2007.

Famous Buildings

Viareggio, torre matilde 1
Torre Matilde and the Marina of Lucca
Palazzo liberty
Liberty-style Building
Viareggio, villa borbone 1
Villa Borbone, between Viareggio and Torre del Lago Puccini
Viareggio, Cittadella del Carnevale
A float being towed out of the Cittadella del Carnevale
  • Villa Puccini, here lived Giacomo Puccini.
  • The City of Carnival,
  • Villa Borbone, built around 1822. Residence to Maria Luisa di Borbone, duchess of Lucca from 1817 to 1824

Famous shops, in Viareggio

Viareggio, passeggiata a mare 2
View of the Promenade
Viareggio, bagno balena
Bagno Balena
Viareggio, Magazzini Duilio 48, 01
"Il 48"
  • Caffè Liberty, previously known as Supercinema Savoia, 1925-1927, inaugurated in 1929, designed by Alfredo Belluomini and decorated by Galileo Chini.
  • Galleria Nettuno.
  • Cinema Eden, 1930.
  • Duilio 48, 1933, rebuilt in 1947 (destroyed during the War), known as "Il 48".
  • Gran Caffè Margherita, 1928, designed by Alfredo Belluomini and Galileo Chini. Café and restaurant, favoured by Giacomo Puccini.
  • Negozio Martini, 1896, rebuilt 1947 (destroyed by the aerial bombardments during the War), Wooden structure.
  • Galleria del Libro, 1931.
  • Bagno Balena, 1928, Art Deco.
  • Cinema Eolo, 1932.
  • Bagno Felice, 1933.
  • Bagno Amedeo, 1931.
  • Bagno Tre Stelle, 1929.
  • Bagno Bertuccelli and Bagno Martinelli, 1931.
  • Bagno Marco Polo, 1931.
  • Bagno Tritone, 1934.
  • Il Principino, 1940, fascist architecture
  • Hotel London, 1928.
  • Hotel Liberty, 1924.
  • Villa Arrighi, 1925.
  • Villino Bertolli, 1850.
  • Hotel Palace, 1922.
  • Grand Hotel Royal, 1925.
  • Hotel Imperiale, 1925.
  • Hotel Excelsior, 1923.
  • Hotel Esplanade, (piazza Puccini), 1924.
  • Hotel Marchionni, (piazza Puccini), 1923.


The Carnival

2007 Viareggio Carnival 01
Carnival Float, 2007
See also: Carnival of Viareggio

The oldest carnival in Italy and Europe, and surely the most important. It was started in 1873. The official masks of the Carnival are Burlamacco and Ondina, drawn for the first time in 1930. Since 1954, RAI broadcasts the event on national TV.The carnival it's really famous because, on the carnival, there are masks about ministers, or show man.

Festivals in Viareggio

  • Festival Puccini
  • Jazz and more..., music festival since 2002 at the City of Carnival.
  • Festival teatro canzone - Giorgio Gaber, since 2004 is a festival in memory of the big Italian artist Giorgio Gaber.
  • Festival EuropaCinema, an international film festival where just European films are accepeted. It was founded in 1984 in Rimini.

Economy and trade

In Viareggio there are many resources, sea tourism, with the very nice cost, tourism, and a very big industry about flowers and fruit.Viareggio is famous in Italy for the beauties local shops, near the city and near the beach.

Sisters cities

Famous people born in Viareggio


  • Football Club Esperia Viareggio
  • C.G.C. Viareggio

Images for kids

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