Last updated on September 28th, 2023
Forte dei Marmi, Italy has been attracting wealthy Italians and foreigners to its prime seaside location for more than a century. What began as the ‘it’ beach town for the Italian aristocracy is now the place to be seen for Italian and foreign soccer players, movie stars, wealthy businessmen (and women!) and more.
You can spend your day lounging at the beach, followed by some shopping at Gucci and Prada. Round out your day with aperitivo and a Michelin-starred dinner.
That doesn’t mean you have to be rich or famous to visit! There is something for everyone in Forte dei Marmi, from swimming in the Mediterranean to shopping at its famous market, from cycling the boardwalk to sampling the region’s delicious seafood.
While it’s not a budget destination, there are hotels and restaurants at varying price points.
Read on for more info on the best things to do in Forte dei Marmi and how to plan your visit.
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Table of Contents
Where Is Forte Dei Marmi, Italy?
Forte dei Marmi is a coastal town on the Mediterranean Sea, in an area called Versilia.
It’s nestled between Pisa and the Cinque Terre, and it’s an easy day-trip from many places (although it’s worth and overnight stay if you have the time).
Forte dei Marmi’s province is Lucca and its region in Italy is Tuscany.
To see the list of recommendations on the Google Map above, click on the icon in the upper-left corner.
Things To Do In Forte Dei Marmi, Italy
Go To The Beach
While there is a public (free) beach in Forte dei Marmi, this is the place to spend the day at one of the private bagni that line the beach. A bagno is a little beach club – complete with umbrellas, beach lounge chairs, changing cabanas, showers and more (restaurants, bars, swimming pools, kids play areas). Choose your bagno, pay for your chair and umbrella, and soak up the sun and sea with your bagno companions.
Recommended Bagno – Bagno Giuliana (via Arenile, 74 – 55042 Forte dei Marmi). +39 0584.881261. This bagno has everything you need for a relaxing day at the beach – umbrellas, lounge chairs, tende (tents), showers, changing cabins, restaurant in the sand, bar/café, kids toys, small soccer pitch, parking lot. It’s family-owned and run and was renovated in 2020, but still retains its original feel).
Shop At The Forte Dei Marmi Open-Air Market
Browse (and buy!) high-quality, fashionable clothing and goods at the well-known Wednesday open-air market. It’s open year-round, in the center of town, at the Piazza Marconi. In the fall, you’ll find excellent deals on cashmere, in the summer you’ll find the latest beach coverups and beautiful summer dresses. Pick up some of the locally made ceramics or bed linens. The market runs from 8:00 to 13:30. It’s popular, so expect crowds and know that parking can be tricky if you don’t get there early.
Helpful Tip: Don’t try to park right next to the market. Drive past it and head north on Viale Italico (the main road that runs parallel to the sea. Look for parking spots on the right side of the street and walk back to the market.
There are also other markets in town during the week, including an antiques market and a mini version of the Wednesday market each Sunday.
Ride A Bike On Forte Dei Marmi’s Bike Paths
Join the locals and ride a bicycle along the path that parallels the beach. It’s well-marked and safe for families but be aware of the driveways of the bagni and the possibilities of cars coming in and out of their parking lots.
If you have smaller kids, you can also rent a bicycle with an enclosed platform in front so you can transport multiple little ones. Coppa Bike has a great selection of bikes for all ages.
Little kids can also bring their bicycles to the piazza and ride around while mom and dad have an aperitivo at a café overlooking the square.
You can also join groups of locals cycling longer distances in the area. For more info on routes in the area, stop by a local bicycle shop. Cicli Maggi is a well-known cycling shop with bicycle rentals and the staff can help you find routes or group rides in the area.
Don’t forget to wear a helmet!
Not a cyclist but want to be active? Other Forte dei Marmi activities include surfing, swimming, kite surfing, walking (on the 10 kilometers of sandy beaches in the area) scuba diving, hiking (in the nearby mountains).
Be A Tourist In The City Center
Take a look at the town’s namesake, the 18th century Forte dei Marmi (a.k.a. Lorense Fort).
Walk out onto the pier (during the day or for the evening passeggiata) and admire the view of the sea. Then turn around and marvel at the mountain backdrop of the Apuan Alps, where Michelangelo ‘harvested’ his marble for many of his sculptures.
Fun Fact: The original pier was constructed in Michelangelo’s time, but was destroyed in WWII and later rebuilt as we see it today.
Go Shopping In The Town Center
Shop at the boutiques and stores in the pedestrian center of Forte dei Marmi. You’ll find well-known Italian designers like Prada, Gucci, Dolce e Gabbana, Armani, Versace, Fendi, and Tods.
There are also more budget options like Intimissimi (underwear), Benetton (clothing), Woolrich (clothing), and Subdued (women’s casual clothing). Local artisans compete for your shopping euros with their beautiful sandals handmade, shoes, and boots.
Even if you don’t find something to purchase, it’s a fun town to window shop in. It’s pedestrian friendly so you don’t need to worry about traffic.
Have Aperitivo And People Watch
The best places for aperitivo are on the beach for sunset or in the pedestrian center of town. The center of town is the best for people watching. It’s so interesting and entertaining to see the latest fashions on the locals and visitors. Forte dei Marmi knows how to dress up for an evening out (or even just a trip to buy bread from the bakery!).
Get Dressed Up And Eat At One Of Forte Dei Marmi’s Restaurants
If you’re looking for a Michelin-starred dinner, you’ve come to the right place! There are also plenty of casual options, if you’re not in the mood for fine-dining.
Seafood and fresh, in-season ingredients are the focus at most restaurants in town. Try seafood pasta dishes or look for fritto – fried seafood. Other local specialties include ficattole, focaccine, or cacciucco.
See recommended restaurants below.
Experience Forte Dei Marmi’s Nightlife
Check out the nightlife. Forte dei Marmi is home to some of Italy’s most famous nightclubs. La Capannina di Franceschi and Twiga are the most well-known and have entertained partygoers for decades (La Capannina will celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2029!). You can spend the day at their beach clubs, followed by aperitivo and dinner. Then, enjoy live music, famous deejays, and dance the night away with Italians and other Europeans.
Find Forte Dei Marmi’s Movie Filming Locations
The town is a setting for some of the most famous Italian beach flicks like Sapore di Mare (a classic Italian coming of age movie), as well as more recent films like Netflix’s Security.
The Best Months To Visit Forte Dei Marmi
The Best Months
June is usually sunny and gorgeous, with long days, and less crowds than July and August. September can also be very pleasant, but there is more rainfall and town can feel empty after the rush of summer visitors.
Worth A Visit With Some Caveats
If you don’t mind the crowds (and the higher prices that come with them), July and August are the months to experience the Italian beach culture. Cafes and restaurants are lively, people take the evening passeggiata in the center, people-watching is at its peak (4-inch heels and fur jackets at the beach), and all the shops are open. The festival of the town’s patron saint (Sant’Ermete) is in August and the celebrations include a fireworks show.
Heading to Forte dei Marmi for the day is a great way to escape the summer heat in Florence!
Fine For A Quick Stop
Winter months are quiet. Many restaurants and shops are closed and it’s too chilly for swimming. However, it can be a pleasant stop for a couple of hours for a stroll and a quick snack.
Monthly Temperatures In Forte Dei Marmi
|January||49°F (9.5°C)||43°F (6°C)||36.5°F (2.5°C)|
|February||52°F (11°C)||44.5°F (7°C)||37.5°F (3°C)|
|March||55.5°F (13°C)||48°F (9°C)||41°F (5°C)|
|April||61.5°F (16.5°C)||53.5°F (12°C)||46.5°F (8°C)|
|May||70°F (21°C)||61°F (16°C)||52°F (11°C)|
|June||76°F (24.5°C)||67°F (19.5°C)||58°F (14.5°C)|
|July||82.5°F (28°C)||72.5°F (22.5°C)||62.5°F (17°C)|
|August||85°F (27.5°C)||73°F (22°C)||62.5°F (17°C)|
|September||75°F (24°C)||66°F (19°C)||58°F (14.5°C)|
|October||67°F (19.5°C)||59°F (15°C)||52°F (11°C)|
|November||57°F (14°C)||50°F (10°C)||43.5°F (6.5°C)|
|December||50°F (10°C)||43.5°F (6.5°C)||37.5°F (3°C)|
Monthly Precipitation In Forte Dei Marmi
|January||5.1 in (130 mm)|
|February||4.7 in (120 mm)|
|March||4.7 in (120 mm)|
|April||5.1 in (130 mm)|
|May||3.7 in (95 mm)|
|June||2.9 in (75 mm)|
|July||1.9 in (50 mm)|
|August||1.8 in (45 mm)|
|September||5.1 in (130 mm)|
|October||7.9 in (200 mm)|
|November||8.7 in (220 mm)|
|December||6.5 in (165 mm)|
What Does Forte Dei Marmi Mean In Italian?
Forte dei Marmi translates to ‘Fort of the Marble.’ The marble refers to the marble found in the quarries in the bordering Apuan Alps. The quarries were the source of Michelangelo’s marble for his famous sculptures, including his David statue in Florence’s Accademia.
Good To Know: You can see an enormous, colorful mural of Michelangelo’s David nearby in the quarries. The mural, by Brazilian street artist Kobra, is located in Cava Gioia near Colonnata.
How To Pronounce ‘Forte Dei Marmi’
It’s pronounced FOR-tay day MAR-me.
Forte Dei Marmi Dining
If you’re looking for fine dining, Forte dei Marmi is an excellent choice. There are multiple restaurants with Michelin stars:
- Bistrot (1 Michelin star) – seafood; seaside dining
- Lorenzo (1 Michelin star) – a Forte dei Marmi institution since the early ‘80s; incredible wine selection
- Lux Lucis (1 Michelin star) – at Principe Forte dei Marmi; watch the food being prepared in open-view kitchen; rooftop
- Il Parco di Villa Grey (1 Michelin star) – at Villa Grey; seafood; young, hip scene
Additional Michelin star restaurants in the vicinity include Marina di Pietrasanta’s Franco Mare, Viareggio’s Romano, Lunasia, and Il Piccolo Principe (2 stars), Amelia’s Locanda Tamerici, and Lucca’s Giglio.
There are also excellent casual options:
- Vale – locals wait in line for the fresh focaccia; nice location on the piazza
- Bagno Giuliana – dine on the beach, with your feet in the sand at this bagno’s restaurant; pastas, foccacce and salads
- Pesce Barraca – the freshest fish possible – it comes in from the local fish markets; have lunch or take away creative casual seafood dishes from their ‘street food’ section; dine in the restaurant in the evening; buy fish to take back to your villa at the fish market
- Il Giardino – shaded outdoor terrace in front of the red fort; great for coffee, hot chocolate and pastries or an evening aperitivo
- Bar Milano – it’s outside of Forte dei Marmi, in nearby Le Focette (a few kilometers south) but I included it here because we always stop here for the best pane arabo, a kind of pizza sandwich; eat lunch or dinner on the large terrace
Forte Dei Marmi Hotels And Villas
Forte dei Marmi is unique because its streets are not packed with hotels. Many Italians (and some foreigners) own or rent homes and villas, which make it feel like a real town, not just a tourist destination.
Villas can be rented through a local agency or one of the popular online brokers. Remember to book as soon as possible if you plan on visiting during the busy summer months.
Would you like to stay in a luxury hotel? Forte dei Marmi has an excellent selection of them. There are also a few budget hotels and B&Bs, but keep in mind that they aren’t excellent value.
- Hotel Byron – old-world villa with a modern touch; beautiful garden, swimming pool, private beaches, Michelin-starred restaurant
- Hotel Augustus – pool, spa, gym, private beach, restaurant; very private
- Hotel Principe – pool, spa, beautiful rooftop terrace for aperitivo, Michelin-starred restaurant
- Villa Grey – chic boutique hotel; perfect for couples; private beach; Michelin-starred restaurant
- California Park – excellent value; close to the beach; swimming pool
- Villa Diletta – located just a few blocks from the seaside; excellent service; clean and comfortable rooms
How Much Time To Spend In Forte Dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi makes a nice daytrip from a nearby town, but if you have time, spend a two nights and allow yourself to relax and get into the Italian beach rhythm.
Many visitors spend weeks or the entire summer in Forte dei Marmi. It’s easy to settle into the routine of:
- Sleep in or rise early and walk into town for a coffee and pastry
- Cycle to your bagno for a day at the beach
- Have lunch at your bagno’s beachside restaurant or café
- Shower up and change for the evening
- Walk or cycle into town for aperitivo
- Make your way to one of Forte dei Marmi’s excellent restaurants
- Either head to bed or join the energetic crowds for dancing and socializing at one of the famous Forte dei Marmi clubs
Forte Dei Marmi With Kids
Kids love Forte dei Marmi and so do parents! The town is clean and safe, and there are plenty of pedestrian streets and piazzas for children to run around and play in.
There is a gigantic playground (Sabin) full of fun play structures right in town and the beaches are child-friendly and full of other children.
In Piazza Marconi, kids can ride mini cars around the loop or take a ride in a carriage. Next to the square is a little carnival area with rides and games.
The streets and sidewalks are stroller-friendly, and there are plenty of places to walk and cycle with kids.
Kids love beach time at the bagni, getting ice cream in town, and having kid aperitivo. Many bagni have kids play areas or swimming areas, and most offer kid-friendly menus.
How To Get Around Forte Dei Marmi
The best way to move around in Forte dei Marmi is by bicycle or on foot.
The streets and pathways are filled with bicycles, day and night. Bikes are the main transport to and from the beach, for running errands, and for visiting friends or going to dinner in the evening.
There are bike lanes in the town and surroundings and there is a dedicated bike lane along the sea.
If you’re staying close to your beach bagno or the town center, you can also easily move around on foot.
There are pedestrian zones in the center of Forte dei Marmi and there are plenty of sidewalks. There are also dedicated walking lanes along the sea and across the street, paralleling the sea.
You can also move around by car, but you’ll need to find parking. Most bagni and hotels have parking spaces for patrons. Otherwise, use street parking but always check signs (for times parking is allowed, whether it’s free or paid, etc). Read more about Parking in Italy.
How To Get To Forte Dei Marmi
Getting To Forte Dei Marmi By Car
Forte dei Marmi is best reached by car. It’s just off the E80, which parallels the coast. It can also be reached from inland by taking the A11.
Getting To Forte Dei Marmi By Train
Taking the train isn’t a convenient way to reach Forte de Marmi, but it can be done. Most train trips to this station require at least one change. Forte dei Marmi is 3.5 km from the Forte dei Marmi – Seravezza – Querceta train station. From the station, take a quick taxi or a 10 minute bus ride into town.
Getting To Forte Dei Marmi By Bus
Taking a bus to Forte dei Marmi isn’t recommended. Multiple changes are required, even to nearby destinations. Still, if it’s your only option, it is possible.
Getting To Forte Dei Marmi By Plane
The most convenient airports to fly into are Pisa (PSA, 40km) and Florence (FLR, 100km). From the airport, the easiest way to arrive is by car (rental car, taxi, or private driver).
Alternatives To Forte Dei Marmi
If you’re not into the luxury beach scene, there are alternatives:
- Viareggio – more casual setting
- Cinque Terre – rocky beaches, towns set into the cliffs
- Cecina and surrounding beaches (Castiglioncello, Vada, Baratti) – more casual setting
Attractions Close To Forte Dei Marmi
- Explore the Carrara marble quarries – 22km (30 min)
- Experience Viareggio’s Carnevale – 11km (20 min)
- View the sculptures and art in Pietrasanta – 7km (12 min)
- Visit the picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre – 50km (40 min) to La Spezia*, the base for a visit to the Cinque Terre
- Attend the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, a lively festival dedicated to the famous Italian composer
- Check out the stalactites and stalagmites in the Corchia cave complex – 20km (30 min)
*2023 Update – Instead of driving to La Spezia (the base for a visit to the Cinque Terre), you can take a ferry to Portovenere and then another ferry to the Cinque Terre. Take Line 3 (Versilia) to Portovenere, where you’ll change ferries and take Line 2 to the Cinque Terre villages (and get off at whichever village you like). You can’t take a ferry directly from Forte dei Marmi – you need to catch it at either Marina di Massa (8 km away) or Viareggio (13 km away).
Forte Dei Marmi – Distance And Time From Other Cities By Car
- Florence – 120km, 1 hr 30 min
- Genova – 130km, 1 hr 40 min
- Milan – 250km, 3 hr
- Pisa – 40 km, 35 min
- Lucca – 35km, 35 min
- Cinque Terre (to La Spezia, then take a train to the villages) – 50km, 40 min
Forte dei Marmi FAQ
Pisa International Airport (PSA) is only 40km from Forte dei Marmi.
Florence’s International airport (FLR) is 100km away.
Genoa International Airport (GOA) is 140km from Forte dei Marmi.
Bologna’s International Airport (BLQ) is 180km away.
If you drove straight through, it would take just under 16 hours to drive from London to Forte dei Marmi. You’ll travel through the Chunnel and France before arriving in Italy. It’s an easy drive – you spend over 12 hours on the same road, without making a turn. The most challenging part of the drive is the section with tunnels when you arrive in Italy and make your way south along the coast.
Yes. It’s not a beach town to visit if you’re on a tight budget. If you’d love to see the town but don’t want to spend too much, do a day trip! Visit the market, spend time at a bagno, and grab quick meals of focaccia or pizza from town.
Yes. Check out the Instagram handle @theindianaway for some photos of scenes being filmed in town. There were also a few scenes filmed in nearby Pietrasanta.
Some of the most popular and well-known include:
Security (2021) – A (subtitled) well-received Netflix thriller filmed in Forte dei Marmi during the winter.
Un’Estate Al Mare (2008)
Anni ’60 (1999) – A television comedy miniseries.
Caro Maestro (1996-97) – A 2-season television comedy miniseries.
Sapore di Mare / Time For Loving (1983) – A classic Italian comedy about summer life at the beach in Italy in the 1960s. Everyone in Italy knows this film. If you choose one from the list to watch, choose this one.
Sapore di Mare 2 – Un Anno Dopo (1983) – A sequel to its popular predecessor.
Peccato Veniale / Lovers and Other Relatives (1974) – A comedy about a family’s summer stay on the Italian sea in the 1950’s.
Forte dei Marmi is most famous for its luxury tourism – Michelin-starred restaurants, chic 5-star hotels, high-end boutiques, and its jet-set visitors – the wealthy and famous from Italy and abroad. Its location, nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Apuan Alps, leaves breathtaking views, no matter which direction you’re looking in.
The restaurant’s design was inspired by the beach town of Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany. The food at the restaurant is based on the slow food movement and fine dining in Italy.
Yes! Forte dei Marmi makes a great day trip from Lucca. It’s easiest to travel by car, but you can also use public transport. Forte dei Marmi is one of a few great beach day-trips from Lucca.