Affordable Opulence on Tuscany’s Tranquil Coast

The first time my family and I drove north along the Tuscan coast, we veered inland to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In doing so, we missed a small and yet remarkable stretch called the Versilia Coast in the northwest corner of the province of Lucca. Versilia is sandwiched between Livorno to the south and Cinque Terra to the north. We thought we had seen all of what the Tuscan Coast had to offer before we discovered the magic of Versilia.

When we found our way back here we spent weeks trawling the stunning coast backed by the Apuan Alps and viridescent pine forests. The sand was as smooth as the Carrara marble visible throughout this region. There were “old salts” fishing off every pier flanked by serious surfers and Gucci clad weekenders for the perfect balance. Families, retirees, teenagers and everyone in between, were enjoying the massive variety of activities this mild, sun drenched coastline had to offer.

While purchasing property in this area can be pricey, the summer holiday rental market is one of the strongest we have seen in Italy, which makes investment properties more attractive. If, however, you are looking for a fully furnished villa to rent off-season, there is an abundant supply. We rented a villa carriage house on the border between Forte dei Marmi and Marina di Pietrasanta, a stone’s throw from the beach, for $1,300 a month, including utilities and maid service.

With an average of 200 days of sun a year, this region is the perfect place to rent a pastel striped cabana and let the beach club staff spoil you as you gaze at the crashing Ligurian Sea. Of course, if you feel the itch to explore further, Lucca, Florence, Cinque Terra and Pisa are all easy day trips.

What we appreciated most about our life along the Tuscan Coast were the day to day pleasures of living like locals. The tourists were mainly Italians, from Genoa and Milan, here for their holiday by the sea. After six months of affordable opulence, my husband and I sat at the welcoming Paradiso Al Mare restaurant, sipping a deep red glass of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. A new kind of tranquility washed over us as we understood la dolce vita for the first time and vowed to take the relaxed pace of this coastline with us into all of our future travels.

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