The Villa Roma Imperiale Hotel is known
its service and location near the beach.
Doppio,” said the dashingly handsome Italian man wearing only swim
trunks and ordering espresso.
I blushed and tried to avert my stare. One of the regular guests
gossiped that he is a soap opera star from Milan here in Forte dei
Marmi on vacation. This sleepy town, nestled at the foothills of
the Carrara Mountains in the Tuscan Italian Riviera, is one of the
best-kept secrets of diplomats, movie stars and Italian VIPs.
I was there working as a part-time barista bartering my stay at
one of the most posh bagni (beach clubs) in the area.
I spent mornings on the sandy Mediterranean beach bronzing
myself in a canvas chair amongst the masses of organized rows of
beach chairs and umbrellas. If clients are heading to Forte dei
Marmi, they can rent chairs by the day in addition to private
changing cabins, and light snacks are available beachside. Many
bagni are booked years in advance, and at $216 a day for an
umbrella, only the elite get sand in their sunscreen here. I was
the only American, but they hung up an Old Glory flag for me at the
beach club, and I promised to bring them a California flag upon my
Forte dei Marmi is home to
many high-end shops.
Each morning, I rode my bicycle to the beach through the little
town saying buon giorno to everyone along the way evoking in my
head a vision of “Life Is Beautiful.” At the beach, clients can
relax under the Tuscan sun with some esteemed celebrities. I
lounged with a Formula One driver and his children, who discussed
their excursions to the charming cliffside cities of Cinque Terre
and to the leaning tower of Pisa, both only 30 minutes away. And on
another occasion, the vice president of a multinational company
told me about her long hike in the hills and her subsequent
purchase of luxurious marble for her kitchen. The rugged Apuan
Alps, the backdrop for Forte dei Marmi, look snow-capped
year-round, but it is really the rich white marble that crowns
Like just about anywhere in Tuscany, at Forte dei Marmi, clients
are in for a culinary treat. During my stay, I would wander through
the club’s kitchen, gleaning that day’s ingredients:
balsamic-marinated eggplant slices, sun-dried tomatoes, freshly
sliced coppa, speck, parma and lardo were all among my favorites.
The open-air pizza oven intrigued me, and I loved the smell of the
crisp dough and quattro formaggio with just a sprinkle of local
herbs roasting in the pizza oven. The chef grudgingly relinquished
the recipe for the dough and it is now my best secret recipe.
After lunch, I would make espresso and worked on my Italian.
On the second Saturday or Sunday of the month, clients can head
to the city for the antiques market, I would peddle their to take a
gander at various Italian treasures, and I was able to discover
some food gems of my own at Forti Baci, Orsa Maggiore and Tre
Stelle restaurants. And each Wednesday morning, clients can head to
the open-air market to look for bargains on fabrics, clothes and of
course, Italian shoes.
Often at night, after the umbrellas were collapsed and the last
of the sand swept off the floor, I would head one mile inland to
the trendy and very artistic village of Pietrasanta. Clients can
start an evening with a meal at the ultra-hip Lo Sprocco, serving
aperitifs and baskets of homemade salamis. The restaurant offers al
fresco dining where clients can take in the street scene. Or they
can check out Ancilla, a small family hideaway with great modern
decor and fantastic food.
After dinner, I would stroll along the cobblestone streets and
visit the art galleries, which are open until all hours.
|WHERE TO STAY|
Hotel Augustus , one of the two five-star hotels
in Forte dei Marmi, has its own bagno connected to the hotel
property along the seaside boardwalk Viale Morin. Rates are
$430-$720 per night.
Villa Roma Imperiale Hotel is a boutique hotel
in Forte dei Marmi with impeccable and delightful service just
steps from the beach and from the city center. Villa Roma Imperiale
is a historical mansion with sprawling gardens and a pool.
Forte dei Marmi
Forti Baci Cafe
Viale Morin, 2
Ristorante L’Orsa Maggio
Via Arenile, 29
Trattoria Tre Stella
Via Montauti, 6