Viareggio is a village of 64.564 inhabitants under the Province of Lucca in Tuscany. The city was built during the first half of the XVI century, when it was the only harbor for the Republic of Lucca. The Matilde Tower, the most ancient building of the city, was built during the same period, and specifically in 1571, as a fortified tower to protect the citizens from the constant danger of the barbarian pirates.
Viareggio is known as a place for summer tourism and for its Carnival, created in 1873, with the huge papier-maché carnival floats that parade in the “Passeggiata a Mare”.
The official Carnival character is Burlamacco, created in 1930 by Uberto Bonetti. During the period of the parades, which are very popular, there are also district parties, which are normally held from Fridays till Sundays.
From an artistic point of view Viareggio is known for its various liberty and deco architecture, and to be the hometown of several artists such as Lorenzo Viani, Federico Bagnoli, Alfredo Catarsini, Renato Santini, Mario Marcucci, Eugenio Pardini, Inaco Biancalana, Galileo Chini, Alfredo Belluomini, Giorgio Michetti and Luisa Cellai.
The city is an active center for industry and craftsmanship, in particular shipyards, which have been popular since a long time. The city is also known for fishing and flowers production. Viareggio is famous for being the city of several prizes and cultural events, including “Viareggio Répaci Literature Awards” created in 1929, “Viareggio Sport Awards”, belonging to 1985 and the World “Viareggio Carnival Cup” Competition, born in 1949.
Something else that is important to mention is the “Gaber Festival”, in memory of the famous artist Giorgio Gaber, where we have the participation of many important Italian musicians (from 2004).
Viareggio is also known for historical and religious events: some of the most relevant happenings are those of St. Antonio Maria Pucci and Clelia Merloni.
The city is known because it is the hometown of the director Mario Monicelli, of the actress Stefania Sandrelli, of Marcello Lippi, the coach of the Italian Football team which was the winner of the World Football Competition in 2006, and of the actor and showmen Marco Columbro.