Viareggio, situated in northern Tuscany, is more than just a beach town, and it’s lively all year round. It boasts one of the biggest carnivals in Italy and countless events for all tastes. The famous Viareggio Carnival dates to 1873; its papier-mâché floats parade along the promenade in the weeks before Easter. During this period, the city is abuzz and local residents decorate their streets and houses for Carnival, making the city even more colourful. When it’s not time to go to the sea and the beach resorts close their doors, Viareggio offers its greatest beauty with a wonderful 3km promenade along the sea. This promenade, known as passeggiata, boasts buildings that are Art Nouveau masterpieces. They brighten up Viale Margherita, officially opened in 1902: hotels, beach resort, cafés, restaurants and shops. If you walk along the seaside promenade from the Burlamacca canel toward Piazza Mazzini, you’ll see, among others, buildings such as the Savoy Cinema, dating to 1925, the emporium Duilio 48, one of the most important Liberty buildings and the Gran Caffè Margherita, the symbol of the town, result of an active collaboration between the architect Alfredo Belluomini and the ceramist-painter Galileo Chini. At the beginning of the promenade there is a stretch of land called the molo (pier), where you can enjoy the view of the Marina, the lighthouse and the boats anchored in the harbour. The oldest building in Viareggio is the Torre Matilde, which dates back to the first half of the 16th century. It was a defensive fortification to fight the constant menace of pirate invasions against the Republic of Lucca and its only gate to the sea.