beach with red lifeguard boat on sand in forte dei marmi, italy

Forte dei Marmi, Italy – Planning Your Visit to the Luxe Seaside Town

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.

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

mom and son playing in the sand at beach in forte dei marmi, italy with beach club and mountains in background on a cloudy day

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 2021, but still retains its original feel). 

Shop At The Forte Dei Marmi Open-Air Market

cashmere stand at the open air market in forte dei marmi italy

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. 


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

two kids riding bicycles on the beach bike path in forte dei marmi, italy

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) scuba diving, hiking (in the nearby mountains).

Be A Tourist In The City Center

lorenese fort in forte dei marmi, italy

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

people having aperitivo at a bar in the center of forte dei marmi, italy

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

lobster pasta and a glass of white wine on the table in forte dei marmi, italy

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, as well as more recent films like Netflix’s Security.

The Best Months To Visit Forte Dei Marmi

The Best Months

forte dei marmi, view of beach clubs and mountains, looking from the sea

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.

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

HighAverageLow
January49°F (9.5°C)43°F (6°C)36.5°F (2.5°C)
February52°F (11°C)44.5°F (7°C)37.5°F (3°C)
March55.5°F (13°C)48°F (9°C)41°F (5°C)
April61.5°F (16.5°C)53.5°F (12°C)46.5°F (8°C)
May70°F (21°C)61°F (16°C)52°F (11°C)
June76°F (24.5°C)67°F (19.5°C)58°F (14.5°C)
July82.5°F (28°C)72.5°F (22.5°C)62.5°F (17°C)
August85°F (27.5°C)73°F (22°C)62.5°F (17°C)
September75°F (24°C)66°F (19°C)58°F (14.5°C)
October67°F (19.5°C)59°F (15°C)52°F (11°C)
November57°F (14°C)50°F (10°C)43.5°F (6.5°C)
December50°F (10°C)43.5°F (6.5°C)37.5°F (3°C)

Monthly Precipitation In Forte Dei Marmi

January5.1 in (130 mm)
February4.7 in (120 mm)
March4.7 in (120 mm)
April5.1 in (130 mm)
May3.7 in (95 mm)
June2.9 in (75 mm)
July1.9 in (50 mm)
August1.8 in (45 mm)
September5.1 in (130 mm)
October7.9 in (200 mm)
November8.7 in (220 mm)
December6.5 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.

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
  • La Magnolia (1 Michelin star) – at Hotel Byron; romantic poolside setting
  • 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

There are also excellent casual options:

storefront of vale focacceria in forte dei marmi, italy
  • 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 they have 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.

5-Star Hotels

  • 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

4-Star Hotels

  • Villa Grey – chic boutique hotel; perfect for couples; private beach; Michelin-starred restaurant
  • California Park – excellent value; close to the beach; swimming pool

B&Bs

  • 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

hand pushing stroller on bike path in forte dei marmi, italy
The biking and walking paths that parallel the beach are perfect for strollers and small kids on bikes

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. 

parco sabin in the center of forte dei marmi, italy
Parco Sabin

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. 

mini car with kids and father going around the track in forte dei marmi, italy

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. 

Bicycle

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.

On Foot

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. 

Car

You can also move around by car, but you’ll need to find parking.   Most bagni and hotels have parking spaces for patrons.

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, 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

sculptures in the main piazza of pietrasanta, italy
Pietrasanta is full of artists, workshops, and galleries
  • 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 (note – the ferry is scheduled to run again in 2022) – 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)

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

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