Your travel guide to Florence
Known as the cradle of the Renaissance (la culla del Rinascimento), due to its abundance of art and architecture, Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. However, the city's river valley location and its surrounding hills make for extremely hot and humid summer weather, with average temperatures ranging from 27 to 31°C from June to September.
Luckily, Tuscany boasts some of the best beaches in Italy, so unsurprisingly, escaping the crowds of Florence to cool off on the coast proves popular with both tourists and locals alike. Stretching from Marina di Carrara to Argentario and benefiting from the clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Tuscan coastline has a lot to offer. There is something for everyone, with both sandy and rocky beaches, as well as small islands, all within easy travelling distance from the city. From North to South, here is a list of the best beaches to visit near Florence:
Located on the Versilia coast, the popular seaside resort of Viareggio offers over six miles (10 km) of sandy beaches and a wealth of bars, shops and restaurants. Thanks to its good transport links, it is the easiest beach to access from Florence, with a journey time of under one and a half hours by car or by train. Both public and private beaches are available to visitors, but the resort can become very busy during the summer months. As well as being renowned for its beaches, Viareggio is also well-known for its carnival parade along the promenade, which takes place in the run up to Easter and dates back to 1873.
Surrounded by pinewoods, this dramatic piece of coastline is made up of small coves, sheltered bays and sheer red cliffs, which tumble into the crystal clear sea. Castiglioncello is a blue flag location along the Etruscan coast, where there are both rocky and sandy beaches to choose from. Energetic visitors can also benefit from the water sports centre, and it is a popular spot for snorkeling. Castiglioncello is less easily accessible by public transport than Viareggio and parking can be difficult in August, but the spectacular scenery makes this stretch of coastline well worth the visit.
The beaches between Rosignano and Vada are known as White Beaches (Spiagge Bianche), because of the dazzling white sand and turquoise sea. This tropical appearance makes the location a popular choice, even though there are less tourist entertainment facilities here than in other nearby resorts. Locals say that the sand here is whiter than the rest of the coastline because of the bicarbonate produced at a local factory. But, be warned, the sand is so white that visitors tan a lot quicker here than at other Tuscan beaches, and many go home burnt.
Just 12 miles (20 km) from the Italian mainland, Elba is the largest of the islands in the Tuscan Archipelago. Famous for its clear blue seas and beautiful beaches, the island is a favourite with both locals and tourists, attracting over a million visitors every year. Although the island tends to be very busy in August, throughout the rest of the year there is more than enough space for everyone along its 91 miles (147 km) of coastline. The island is made easily accessible by regular one-hour ferry rides from Piombino, which is a two and half hour journey from Florence by car or by train.