TUSCANY – “Dolce Vita” in an Old Land
Viareggio is a city and comune located in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Ligurian Sea. With a population of over 63,000 it is the main centre of the northern Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia, and the second largest city within the Province of Lucca.
It is known as a seaside resort as well as being the home of the famous carnival of Viareggio (dating back to 1873), and its papier-mâché floats, which (since 1925), parade along the promenade known as “Passeggiata a mare”, in the weeks preceding Easter. The symbol of the carnival of Viareggio and its official mask is Burlamacco, designed and invented by Uberto Bonetti in 1930.
The city traces its roots back to the first half of the 16th century when it became the only gate to the sea for the Republic of Lucca. The oldest building in Viareggio, known as Torre Matilde, dates back to this time and was built by the Lucchesi in 1541 as a defensive fortification to fight the constant manace of corsair incursions.