Viareggio is thought to be the most famous municipality of Versilia. Still a relatively young city, the draining of the marshes marked an increased development of the tourism and manufacturing industries, and the city became the centre of commercial activity in the Lucca province. Wealthy merchant and noble families commissioned the building of grand villas in the 18th and 19th centuries, which are typical examples of the liberty style architecture of the era and are located along the seafront. Villa Puccini, Villa Argentina, Villa Crastan Arrighi and Villa Paolina are probably the most impressive, but the seafront also boasts many other interesting establishments, such as the Principe di Piemonte hotel.
Viareggio is most famous for it’s carnival, which has taken place every year since 1873, featuring colourful papier-mâché floats, which constitute veritable works of art.
The only hamlet of Viareggio is Torre del Lago Puccini, where the composer built a villa on the shores of lake Massciuccoli, which has now been turned into a museum. Villa Orlando and Villa Ginori are also worth a visit.