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We are parents, too. We think traveling well and traveling with children shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. We have limited vacation time, and we’re not spending our few days of freedom in lousy hotels eating bad food. We know the world is full of wonderful resorts, cool urban escapes and far-flung lodges that can make our time with our kids count. We want it all, and we don’t think it should be so hard to find. So we’re going to share it with you.


Our Insider's Guide to Forte dei Marmi

Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Dispatches from around the world

Our Insider's Guide to Forte dei Marmi

Henley Vazquez

One of Tuscany’s most popular seaside towns, Forte dei Marmi attracts a loyal mix of summer visitors for its laid-back beach clubs, family-friendly hotels, and upscale restaurants. At the heart of the action is Hotel Byron, an elegant, kid-friendly sleep with views across the Ligurian Sea and Apuan Alps. We spoke to owner, and Forte dei Marmi expert, Salvatore Madonna about the highlights and hidden gems of this quintessential northern Italian beach town.


We’d love to hear a bit about Forte dei Marmi and what you love most about the destination? I grew up in Pisa and have lived in Lucca since 2003. Forte dei Marmi is a place filled with happy memories for me — it’s where I spent my summers as a child, made lifelong friends, fell in love, and lived by myself for the first time. Today I bring my own children here with their grandparents. I love the mood of this little town and the mix of interesting people and different nationalities. It’s affluent, yes, but there’s a laid-back attitude you don’t get in other Italian resort towns.

Can you share your top three beach clubs for families… The best, without question, is Bagno Piero, a famous beach club I’ve been visiting since I was a young child. There’s a good mix of Italians and seasonal visitors making the most of the salt-water pool, bar, and relaxed restaurant. I would also recommend Bagno Piemonte, a historic beach club that was given a big renovation two years ago by the new owners, the Barilla family. They’ve added modern details but retained the traditional spirit of Forte. Finally, Bagno America is a classic Forte beach club, with a great restaurant directly on the sand.

Where do you recommend for sunset drinks? The beach clubs I mentioned are all ideal for drinks at sunset, or beachfront restaurants like L'Orsa Maggiore or Gilda.

Where are the toughest dinner reservations in town? At weekends during the summer season, it’s the local gourmet restaurants: La Magnolia, Lorenzo or Bistrot.

What should visitors shop to get the Forte dei Marmi look? We have everything here. Designer labels from Rome, Milan and Florence, plus local artisans making custom sandals, bags and bespoke clothing.

Where should visitors go on a day trip? You can’t miss Lucca, an ancient city around 30 minutes away from Forte dei Marmi. Just a five-minute drive away is Pietrasana, an artist’s hub famous for its prized marble. Michelangelo used marble from Pietrasanta in many of his sculptures. Americans, in particular, love to visit the Cinque Terre via the ferry that leaves from Forte dei Marmi pier throughout the summer.

Do you have any tips for families staying in Forte dei Marmi? Families love the Hotel Byron and many reserve their return visit a year in advance, but there are many options you can book closer to your travels. June is my favorite month by far — beautiful long days before the solstice and fewer people than in July and August.

Where do you recommend visitors go after Forte dei Marmi? There are so many options, but I love pairing the relaxation of being on the Tuscan coast with some culture and city time in Florence, roughly a one-and-a-half-hour drive inland.