Pontile – Center – Capannina
1 – 2 km
This short route through the center of Forte dei Marmi is ideal for an outing on foot, although you may want to go by bike if you intend to continue farther afield. The panorama from the Pontile, Forte’s strictly pedestrian pier (not even bikes are allowed!), takes in the sea, the coast from the islands off La Spezia all the way to Viareggio and, behind you, the Apuan Alps. Every year, the pier is the stage for a grandiose fireworks display as part of the celebrations for Forte’s patron Sant’Ermete on 28 August.
Dominating the circular plaza giving access to the Pontile is the bronze sculpture Controvento, by Anna Chromy, representing a helmsman navigating toward the unknown. Across Viale Italico, at the corner of Via Spinetti, are the remains of the crane – nicknamed “La Mancina” because it rotated only to the left – that once loaded marble blocks onto merchant ships from the old wooden pier. Destroyed during World War II, the crane was recovered from the sea bottom, in pieces, and is now a monument to the workers of the sea installed in the pinewood dedicated to Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Another monument in the same pinewood is a pattino, a typical Versilian lifeguard boat, a hymn to the expertise of the local maestri d’ascia boatbuilders.
Continue past this pinewood park along Via Spinetti, the palm-shaded main street leading to the shops and boutiques of the city center. A few more meters and you’re in Piazza Garibaldi, in the very center of historic Forte, where you’ll find the Fortino and the Pozzo (water-well). Against the front wall of the Fortino, the basin that was once a watering trough for the beasts of burden that transported the marble from the mountains to the sea is now surmounted by Arturo Dazzi’s statue Vittoria. Also on the square is a beautiful fountain erected in 1900 by the municipality of Pietrasanta (in what was then still a locality of this Comune) to provide drinking water, and the sculpture by Gio Pomodoro entitled La Figlia del Sole. The square is a prestigious venue for musical events and spectacles, including the Focata bonfire set ablaze during the late-August celebrations for Forte’s patron Sant’Ermete. The benches on the square are perfect for a short pause in your wanderings – or you might prefer a snack or an aperitif at the Caffè Roma, near what was, in the early years of the last century, a habitual meeting-place for such intellectuals, artists, and writers as Carlo Carrà, Arturo Dazzi, and Enrico Pea.