Forte dei Marmi Back to Italy

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Courtesy Augustus Hotel & Resort

In Italian, Forte dei Marmi translates to Fort of the Marbles. The name is derived from the town’s origin as a fortress built to defend the harbor and marble quarries of the Apuan Alps, which serve as the region’s scenic backdrop. The small town of Forte dei Marmi is uniquely positioned between the dramatic mountain range, dazzling with white marble caps that give the illusion of snow, and the glistening Tyrrhenian Sea. Prosperous from maritime trade, wealthy and noble families of Tuscany and northern Italy took up summer residence here in the nineteenth century. Sophisticated travelers from throughout Europe caught wind of the cultural and social sanctuary offered by this fashionable beach town. Soon, prestigious hotels and glamorous villas scattered the area, creating an affluent and tranquil environment of flower-filled gardens, lush parks, famous fashion houses and a host of famed celebrities, artists and diplomats. Though Forte dei Marmi continues to be a summer destination for the international well-heeled crowd, it remains cushioned in northern Tuscany a hidden (but not-so-secret) gem of a resort. Perhaps by no coincidence, the protective meaning of its name extends beyond its literal interpretation, prophetic in its role as the guardian of this precious summer destination.

Cheat Sheet

  • Sleep…at the Augustus Hotel, Forte dei Marmi’s classic seaside resort
  • Experience…Il Capannina, the storied disco-tech that originally opened in 1929
  • Splurge…on a yacht charter and spend a day visiting Portofino and Cinque Terre
  • Eat…in the town’s central promenade at the charming Trattoria Tre Stelle
  • Drink…with panoramic views over the sea and Apuan Alps at 67 Sky Lounge Bar
  • Savor…inventive dishes at Bistrot, a Michelin-starred restaurant with al fresco dining
  • Visit…the quarries of Carrara, home to Italy’s famous white-and-blue-grey marble
  • See…the nearby medieval towns of Lucca or Pisa to break up your beach days
  • Shop…the numerous high-end fashion, accessory and antique boutiques in town
  • Know…that as an Indagare member you can contact our Bookings Team for customized recommendations and itinerary planning

Lay of the Land

Occupying less than three-and-a-half square miles, Forte dei Marmi is a small seaside town on the Versilian coast of northern Tuscany. The town’s main road runs from north to south, parallel to its long, wide beach. A variety of hotels and resorts can be found scattered along, or just off of, this main road. The proper town is comprised of a few vehicular streets and several pedestrian-only promenades, clustered together in the well-manicured center. Forte’s small size, low traffic volume and easily navigated streets make getting around safe and effortless and the most convenient and popular means of transportation is by bicycle. There are bike paths as well as trails for jogging and walking.

Forte is not only quaint and manageable in its own right, but it also allows for easy access to a variety of desirable day-excursions. A couple of hours north by boat are the coastal towns of Portofino and Cinque Terre. Characterized by their colorful, cliff side homes, wild natural beauty, medieval history and delectable Ligurian cuisine (famous for its pesto and focaccia), a day on the Tyrrhenian Sea makes for the perfect summer daytrip from Forte dei Marmi. Thirty to forty minutes south of Forte sit the medieval towns of Lucca and Pisa, both rich in history with remarkably in tact Old Towns- the highlight of which is the renowned Leaning Tower, mesmerizing in its beauty and well worth a visit. Art lovers will appreciate the nearby communes of Carrara and Pietrasanta, both less than thirty minutes drive on the outskirts of Forte. Carrara sits on the foothills of the Apuan mountain range and is home to some of Italy’s most famous marble quarries, while Pietrasanta, a charming and local  town with strong ties to the area’s marble, enjoys the patronage of many acclaimed artists and is home to a host of fantastic art galleries.

Indagare Tip

Request bike rentals through the hotel concierge in advance of your arrival, as cycling will likely be your main means of transport. Self-driving in Tuscany is certainly do-able but unless you are planning to spend a significant amount of time outside of Forte dei Marmi, having a rental car is unnecessary – stick with a car hire for the times when you venture to neighboring towns.

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