Forte dei Marmi
Forte dei Marmi is a sea town and comune in the province of Lucca, in northern Tuscany (Italy). It is the birthplace of Paola Ruffo di Calabria, Queen of the Belgians from 1993 to 2013.
Tourism is the principal activity of Forte dei Marmi’s citizens. The population of the town, amounting to some 7,700, nearly triples during the summer, because of the hundreds of tourist who mainly come from Florence, Milan, Germany, and Russia.
The city contains a gate built in a former bog, a historical artifact that relates to strategic planning by the ancient Roman army.
In Italian Forte dei Marmi means “Fort of the marbles”. The town takes its name from the fortress that rises in the middle of the main square, built under Grand Duke Peter Leopold, who was to become Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1788. The fortress was built to defend the coast from outer attacks, but in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century it became the place where the marble quarried from the Alpi Apuane (they are the same mountains of the famous marble of Carrara) was stocked before being sent to the pier for shipping.
Forte dei Marmi was the holiday destination of the Agnelli family. Gianni Agnelli and his sisters spent their summer vacations at Villa Costanza, now part of the Augustus Hotel & Resort. Susanna Agnelli spoke about her childhood by the seaside in her autobiography “We Always Wore Sailor Suits”. Virginia, mother of the famous lawyer Gianni and widow of Edoardo, died in a tragic car accident while driving from Rome to the popular beach resort. Tourism
Tourism in Forte dei Marmi started at the end of the 18th century when the rich families of the inland went to the coast to breathe healthy air and to sandbathe. At the beginning of the 19th century many wealthy families from Tuscany and the north of Italy started to choose this town for their summer holidays. Later on, also European families started to do so. Many important and famous people started to arrive in the area and the first villas were built in the pinewood near the sea. The first ones were Agnelli, Siemens, Giovanni Gentile, Thomas Mann, Renato Fucini, Italo Balbo, Curzio Malaparte, Enrico Pea, Aldous Huxley, Guglielmo Marconi, the writer Riccardo Bacchelli, the sculptor Henry Moore, Luchino Visconti and many Italian noble families. Artists meeting every day talking about arts and culture created a group called Quarto Platano. The Grand Hotel in Forte became an important place for the European high society and the hotel was chosen also from the Belgian royal family. Tourism increased after the Second World War, especially in the Sixties when more and more families love spending their summer and this lovely paradise. Many houses and hotels were built near the sea. In 1991 hotels were 101, most of them open only during the summer and some of them family-run businesses. Today the area is still a popular destination for businessmen, managers, politicians, show-men, movie and sport stars. Forte dei Marmi continue to offer to its guests the same peace and tranquility. It is still a town immersed in the pinewood with a beautiful sand beach. It is not very crowded and it is ideal for biking and shopping. The number of hotels decreased from 101 in 1991 to 58 hotels today. However, the number of people that have bought vacation houses here has increased. The hotels are from 1 to 5 stars, the majority are 3 and 4 stars. Only 7 of them are one and two stars – in 1991 there were 45. Many of them have been renovated and are now apartments, private villas or three and four star hotels. Today, the 58 hotels have a total of 1.965 rooms. In 2010 in Forte dei Marmi 109.379 tourists spend an average of 3.9 nights for a total of 428.352 visits. The total visits were 423.250 in 2009 and 450.800 in 2008. In 2010, 49% were foreign tourists, in 2009 45% and in 2008 46%. The majority of Italian tourists come from Tuscany, then Lombardia, Piemonte, Emilia Romagna e the fifth region is Lazio. The foreign tourists came from Germany, Russia, Great Britain, Holland, France, Switzerland and the USA (ISTAT data).
Distance: 25 Km