They have crystal-clear waters, well-maintained shores and offer the best in comfort and services, with environmental sustainability efforts to boot: these are the Tuscan beach towns that earned the Blue Flag (Bandiera Blu) designation, an international recognition awarded not only for the sea’s water quality but for other environmental factors that help create a perfect vacation, such as the services offered to visitors, green and pedestrian areas and cycling tracks.
The Marina di Carrara, with its comfortable hotels and campsites and convenient services, is the perfect destination for a vacation based around wellbeing and fun. At the feet of the Apuan Alps, the beach is made of a fine, soft sand; public transport connections are good and a thick pinewood lies just behind, where you can take shelter from the sun on the hottest days.
The Massaarea offers a huge variety of beaches: indeed, going along the coast you come across the beaches of Ronchi, Brugiano, Marina Centro, Campeggi, Ricortola and Marina di Ponente. Numerous bathing resorts (some of them historic), bars, clubs and tourist services make this, in summer, one of Tuscany's most enticing destinations.
Forte dei Marmi
Versilia is the perfect destination for anyone who loves art and fun as well as the clear blue sea. The Blue Flag flutters over the Forte dei Marmi beaches, which are favoured by celebrities.
Beloved of the great characters of yesteryear, like Gabriele D'Annunzio, Eleonora Duse and Vittorio Emanuele III, the beach of Camaiore and the Lido Arlecchino make for a delightful, elegant holiday beach resort, looking out over the broad Versilian sands.
Viareggio, the Carnival city and the pearl of Versilia, was awarded the Blue Flag for its beach and also for the beach of Torre del Lago Puccini. The latter, besides having an incredible view over the Tyrrhenian Sea, is home to the Puccini Festival, which every summer brings a world-famous opera season to the outdoor Puccini Theatre.
The Pisan coast is for those who love relaxation and quieter beaches, far from the crowd and the chaos. Sandy beaches, clear sea and wide pinewoods are found at the Marina di Pisa, Tirrenia and Calambrone.
As for the Livorno coastline, the environmental quality and the tourist service is at its best at Cala del Miramare, Rogiolo, Spiaggia del Sale, Tre Ponti, Rex and Quercianella.
In the municipality of Rosignano Marittimo, the Blue Flag has been awarded to Castiglioncello and Vada. The first of these, built on an ancient Etruscan village, is known throughout the world thanks to Dino Risi's film Il Sorpasso. The Vada coastline, shaded by dense pinewood, has the picture-postcard bathing resorts alternating with long stretches of free beach. Le Secche, for example, is a length of shallow sea that attracts fishing enthusiasts all year round.
The beaches of Le Gorette and the Marina di Cecina are close to any service that might be needed, and are therefore ideal for relaxing family vacations. You can also pursue sports, including water sports here: there are swimming and sailing schools, horse stables and shooting ranges.
Thanks to its tranquillity, the beauty of its landscape and a mild climate, Marina di Bibbona is among the most popular tourist hotspots along the Etruscan Coast. Surrounded by nature, it is a beach for all the family and also for those who love watersports.
Marina di Castagneto Carduccihas a particularly clean, clear sea. The sand is welcoming and inviting, full of beach resorts and "Punti Azzurri", denoting the long stretches of free beach where services and assistance are guaranteed.
The beaches of San Vincenzo, which include Principessa and La Conchiglia, are beloved by visitors local and foreign and are well-equipped for those who love watersports. The RimiglianoNatural Park really deserves a whole paragraph to itself, an oasis of flora and fauna found right on the sea.
The Sterpaia Nature Park in the Piombino area is known for its rich environmental ecosystem, made up of dunes, arable and an interesting wet forest. The beaches are found around Perelli, Carlappiano, Mortelliccio, il Pino, Carbonifera and Torre Mozza.
The Blue Flag has also been awarded to the Fenicia beach at Marciana Marina, the little fishing village on the north-west coast of the Isle of Elba.
The beach at Follonica also deserves a visit. Located in the middle of the beautiful bay that gives it its name, it stretches from the Piombino promontory to Punta Ala, and the Isle of Elba looms out to sea.
Castiglione della Pescaia
Another place not to miss is Castiglione della Pescaia and its old medieval town, a real jewel that faces over the sea. Beach resorts to visit are Rocchette, Roccamare, More, Riva del Sole, Capezzolo, Ponente, Spiaggia Pian d'Alma, Casetta, Piastrone, Punta Ala, Levante and Tombolo.
The Maremma offers some extraordinary locations for an unforgettable summer. The coastlines of Marina di Grosseto and Principina a Mare, not far from the Maremma regional Park, the wild green heart of the province of Grosseto, are considered some of the finest beaches for families with children.