The Versilia region, in the North Western Province of Lucca is known for its popular riviera resorts, but there is a lot more to discover in and around the area! So, if you are in Italy to experience Viareggio’s famous carnival, why not visit the neighbouring towns?
If you love the sea and high fashion you should stop at Forte dei Marmi; with its posh boutiques, elegant villas and promenade, it is ideal for a sunny afternoon stroll.
Marina di Pietrasanta offers a wide and sandy beach, which is ideal for families with young children; the backdrop of the hills and pine woods make it a beautiful relaxing spot.
Torre del Lago was named after the lakeside tower that was built in the 1300’. This is the hometown of Giacomo Puccini, famous worldwide for his music. So, apart from the placid lake and woodland, the most popular attraction is Puccini’s villa. Every summer Torre del Lago hosts a fantastic music festival in his memory, performing four of Puccini’s operas.
Things you should know before you drive in Italy.
• Drive on the right side!
• Pay attention when overtaking, which will be on the left.
• When driving in Italy you need to carry a valid driving licence, proof of insurance and proof of ID.
• Do not drive in an area with a sign that says ZONA A TRAFFICO LIMITATO (ZTL) or AREA PEDONALE, limited traffic or pedestrian zones, you'll get a fine!
• When driving on Italian motorways (autostrade), you need to pay a fee. You must take a ticket ("biglietto") when you enter and pay when you exit. When you exit you must pay either by cash or card, DO NOT go into the Telepass lane.
Motorways in Italy are indicated by green signs. Italy's "autostrade" have a standard speed limit of 130 Km/h (81 mph) for cars. the further left you are the faster you should go.
• Filling the car at the petrol station is fairly simple, the pumps are often self service ("fai da te"). NOTE that since Italy has a PIN credit card system, you can only use your credit card if it has a PIN. If not you should use a debit card.
Don't forget! "Benzina" stands for unleaded petrol and "Gasolio" is diesel.
• Be confident, keep up with the traffic and stay alert!
Many a legend surrounds the charming town of Lucca and its Medieval walls!
Lucida Mansi was renowned for her dazzling beauty, her amorous adventures and the tragic end she reserved for her lovers, who she disposed of by throwing them into a pit full of sharpened blades.
But it was her obsession with beauty that eventually got the better of her, she had to be constantly surrounded by mirrors so that the image of her beautiful looks was always in sight, everywhere she looked; on the walls, in her prayer book and even on the ceiling above her bed!
One day, as she was admiring her face, it was with great horror that she noticed her first wrinkle! It was with no hesitation that Lucida accepted the devil's offer: she would retain her beauty for another thirty years in return for la sua anima (her soul).
So the years went past seeing one lover to the next making their way into her bed and then being killed. When the pact with the devil was about to come to an end, she escaped in fear to Lucca's clock tower (la torre delle ore) to try and stop the clock before it struck mezzanotte (midnight). But as she was climbing the steps, she was stopped by the devil who dragged her into his carriage in flames, then drove across the city and along the city walls before falling into a small lake. This can still be found today in l'Orto Botanico (the Botanic Gardens).
It is said that the devil's fiery carriage can still be seen on certain nights and that if you are brave enough to immerse your head in Lucca's Laghetto (small lake), you can see Lucida's desperate face looking up from the muddy bottom.