Viareggio is a famous seaside resort on the Versilia coast. Its name derives from the "Castrum de via Regia", a huge fortress on the seashore that was built in 1172 by Lucca and Genoa, who were allied against Pisa, in order to defend the coast and surrounding territory. Around the fortress developed the town that later got a great importance. Then Lucca was alone in controlling of Viareggio.
In the first years of 1500 Viareggio was fortified by Lucca after political events tnat envolved both Pisa and Genoa. At the beginning of 1600 Viareggio was a largely populated town and in 1617 it became main town of the Vicaria along the coast comprising the settlements rose on the surrounding hills.
Bombed during the Second World War, many important monuments, rich in art and culture, are still visible, such as the Matilde Tower (XVI century), so-called because erroneously attributed to Matilde di Canossa, Palazzo Belluomini (XVII century), Palazzo Bernardini Mansi (XVIII century), Palazzo Montecatini, Palazzo Giannini, Villa Paolina, Paolina Borghese's summer residence, Villa Argentina, in liberty style, and Villa Puccini, in liberty style too, owned by the heirs of the famous musician.
In short, Viareggio is a city where many different artistic styles (liberty, dèco and eclectic) live together.
Together with the Carnival of Venice, the Carnival of Viareggio is the most famous Italian carnival. It takes place every year after Lent between January and February and it is characterized by a parade of allegoric carts and by a range of collateral events linked to this festivity that enlivens the town for thirty days.