Forte dei Marmi: In Pictures, The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 10

Tour 10 / The North West Tuscan Way / Forte dei Marmi / In Pictures 

Pisa Map from space, by Google

Forte dei Marmi Map 1, Google Earth

Forte dei Marmi Map 3, Google Earth

Forte dei Marmi Map 2, Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

I N   P I C T U R E S

The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

Tour 10: Forte dei Marmi

The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEYIf one town along the North West Tuscan Way succeeds in offering the independent tourist something ‘completely different’ it is Forte dei Marmi.      So startling  in fact is the contrast to the other similar sized towns and cities along the way…  that several times during my lunchtime/early afternoon visit I found myself wondering if I was indeed still in Italy (it was the wine, I’m sure – it was also my birthday (hic))     and not some huge, expensive replica…. the type and nature of which can be found in towns and cities, well, elsewhere across the globe.        Which is not to imply an insult.      Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEYPatently this ‘Italy,  but not Italy‘    is precisely the effect the backers of this town intend,     as the heavily manicured and spotless marble sidewalks ably testify.         Clearly Forte dei Marmi is   ‘ on the map ‘,    as evidenced by wealth and abundance of global luxury brand stores clustered among the tight grid of streets and cool verdant, art and flower-filled squares.         And I must concur:   ambling around this curious little town does constitute the most pleasant window shopping experience I think I have enjoyed in many a year.         Forte dei Marmi, I’m delighted to say, is not just glitzy boutiques,    well, it’s not all glitzy boutiques.          Hidden here and there amongst the designer shoes,     the handbags,   and tiny shimmering dresses,     there may be found quite odd,   genuinely interesting,    old curiosity shops…    of the variety and standard to be found in all the coolest places – Florence included.      The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY   But quite why it should be that this particular town – formerly a maritime marble depot – has been whisked into the full-blown, international jet setting circle,  is a question I will leave to others.          We ourselves are simply here to enjoy a fabulous spring day –  a glorious Enchanted April day at that.         And so we begin our tour right in the center of town,    by the old fort:       breathe-in and savor the  refreshing,  blossom-scented,  languid,  warm yet cooling,    Mediterranean breeze.                The Pier at Forte dei Marmi, photo by MARTIN COONEYAfter lunch we are to meander our way down to the sea,   through the maize of shop-lined streets,    and onto the wide marble sidewalk – the very same broad avenue used by the wagon masters of old,  down which they coaxed, coddled and cajoled  their huge teams of paired oxen.       Finally we will gaze out onto the warm afternoon Med from the vantage point of the very end of the historic old pier… and try to imagine the scene as it was…. oh, not so long ago really.       Our stroll should teach us much regarding the history of not only Forte dei Marmi, but the entire North West Tuscan region.         And so, now that you have glimpsed for yourself the extraordinary physical effort,   skill and organization,  not to mention a near ever present danger,   inherent in moving so many massive blocks of solid marble…   the next time you find yourself examining a wonderful old classical Carrara marble sculpture,   wherever in the world that may be,   you view it in in an entirely new light.

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I was well into week 4 of my stay in nearby Pietrasanta before I chose to take the short bus trip over to neighboring Forte dei Marmi,   for no one with whom I had brought up the subject seemed too eager,   or even willing,   to talk about the place.      Quite what caused the rift between these two communities I have no idea,    for Pietrasanta can hardly claim to be gentrification-free.        And so when I stepped off the brightly painted little local bus,     right by the hugely impressive fort,    I really had no idea what to expect.    Each and every passenger alighting the bus in Pietrasanta had gleefully seized upon their opportunity to jump off at various nondescript stops along the way, well short of its destination.        But in stark contrast to the abject visions of squalor, or rampant misery at least,     low-and-behold;     first impressions actually looked pretty good !     Second impressions looked even better,    and by the time I was leisurely enjoying my lunch at one of the abundant outdoor cafes I found myself really beginning to warm to the place.         For one thing – it really is spotless.      For another,   it was astonishingly quiet.     Yes,   quiet – in Italy !         For another…. it all just came as such a jolly nice surprise!         Click on the links below if you really want to hear what I have to say on the subject of Forte dei Marmi.        Otherwise… enjoy the wine,    the warmth,     the sunshine,     the shopping,      the fresh air,      the sculpture ( oh yes, there’s plenty of that ),    the pier,    the sea air,    sea views,   and all.         For next we are headed back into the hills for a spot of cool, shady  woodland hiking,   as we pay a visit to Forte dei Marmi’s namesake mountain hostel.       After which we’re headed to Massa to pet the lions,    then we begin to close-in upon the legendary marble quarries of Carrara.

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Rogue Carver on the Loose in Italy, did not include a post specific to Forte dei Marmi.  However for my postcard series I divided the town a series the three interlocking galleries listed below:

Forte dei Marmi:        Part One, The Flowers   /  Part Two, Window Shopping   /    Part Three, The Pier

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Flowers of Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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Window Shopping in Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi, photo by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi, photo by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi, photo by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi, photo by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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and now

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

The North West Tuscan Way, Map 9 Pisa, Google Earth,

Tour 11: Forte dei Marmi Hostel

Forte dei Marmi Hostel

c l i c k   here

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The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEY

Next: we take to the hills. Keep fit my friends. Nothing beats a good, long walk!

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