Tuscany, Italy | C.1100

Photo Credit: Claudio Poggio

Welcome to Versilia, a lavish place with a murky past. Today, visitors spend their days basking in the salty sunshine, but not so long ago, this glistening stretch of the Italian coastline was nothing more than a large swampland stuck between Pisa and Massa, the sea and the Apuan Alps.

During Roman times, Versilia was not an area where the Emperor was known to roam. The swamp was a less than desirable place for a vacation, but ever so slowly, the landscape changed. In the middle of the 19th century, word began to spread about Versilia as the ultimate destination for sea bathing and heliotherapy treatments.

Before the Tuscans knew it, they had a holiday hotspot on their hands. Within a matter of decades, the word was officially out: Versilia was where those in need of a breath of fresh air — pleasure seekers and cure seekers alike — needed to be.

Since then, the flocks of vacationers have only grown alongside the region’s fame. Fine-sand beaches and coastal dunes dust the Versilian coast, where Riviera resorts and their (slightly risqué) nightclubs have attracted the nation’s celebrities. So come along for the sunshine and sightseeing — just don’t expect your mud bath to be quite as affordable as it used to be.

Written By: Drew Tweedy

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