A Liberty-style villa in the heart of Viareggio, Plaza e de Russie occupies a majestic urban block that oozes Art Nouveau style. With a charming ambiance that captures the imagination and evokes nostalgia for the spirit of Viareggio’s 19th century heyday, this seaside spot proposes an alternative Tuscan escape.
Constructed in 1871, the Plaza e de Russie is a vision of elegance in the centre of Viareggio’s Art Nouveau district. As the first hotel to open in Viareggio, the hotel was a pioneer of tourism to the north Tuscan town, which was popularised in the late 19th and early 20th century by prominent and wealthy aristocrats. Spot the hotel on the brink of Viareggio’s promenade, from which it has been a first-hand witness to generations of visitors. This evocative history makes for a charming stay in a timeless resort.
Sitting on a trim corner plot, Plaza e de Russie is a cub-shaped block with an urban feel, yet upon closer inspection, witness the superb, Liberty-style detailing that adorns the façade. Witness elongated shuttered windows encircled by delicate wrought-iron balconies atop swirling buttresses. An illuminated ‘Plaza’ sign that clings to the side of the building to advertise the hotel’s presence – a delightful relic from another era. Under a vintage awning that umbrellas onto the pavement, enter Plaza e de Russie through an elegant arched doorway and discover within an interior of old-world charm. The Art Nouveau trend is pervasive; tread on parquet floors of original hard wood and two-tone marble surfaces that glint under the glow of opulent, hand-blown Murano chandeliers.
There is a regal air to the 51 guestrooms, each of which emphasises comfort and tradition with dark wood pieces and soft furnishings of rich hues. Bedroom views are numerous and varied; choose to look over an internal courtyard, the promenade, or claim stunning sea vistas over the La Spezía gulf. But to appreciate the full effect of Plaza e de Russie’s location, head to La Terrazza restaurant on the penthouse floor and view the dramatic Viareggio landscape, bordered by the Apuan Alps. In amongst this visual feast enjoy a literal feast as chefs serve local specialities, with a particular emphasis on fish dishes that embrace a Mediterranean flavour.
Seaside stopoverPlaza e de Russie enjoys excellent proximity to some of the region’s most popular attractions, making it a marvellous seaside stopover spot. At approximately an hour’s drive from Florence, with all its obvious artistic and architectural appeal, and about 30 minutes away from the tourist trap of Pisa, consider embarking on a multi-centre tour. Perhaps travel along an arc-shaped route that begins in the urban cultural hub of Florence, makes a brief pit-stop in Pisa and culminates with a relaxing stay in Viareggio. Alternatively, choose Plaza e de Russie as a foothold for daytrips to these locations. Don’t miss the beautiful commune of Lucca, whose walled old city is home to countless mediaeval sights and the circular Piazza Anfiteatro at its core.
Puccini Opera FestivalMuch nearer to the hotel itself is the town of Torre del Lago, which hosts the annual Puccini Opera Festival in the months of July and August. The festival welcomes around 40,000 attendees every year to the open-air theatre and offers an authentic and ambient cultural experience. Combined with a stay at the Art Nouveau Plaza e de Russie, the Puccini Opera Festival provides an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the artistic heritage of the region. Click to read more about the Puccini Festival.
PRICESPrices from £950 per person for 7 nights based on two people sharing a Comfort double or twin room. Price includes flights with British Airways London to Pisa, car hire and bed and buffet breakfast.
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