Forte? a freshwater paradise to discover
Meet the locals: Francesca Giannelli. «It’s very interesting to see how little the landscape has actually changed after all this time»
Interview by Titti Chiarello - Photography Annalisa Ceccotti
Francesca Giannelli was born in Forte dei Marmi. For many years, she has worked at Forte’s tourist information office, where she welcomes guests and dispenses advice on what to do, where to stay, what’s on where . . . Francesca, where did you grow up? In the Vaiana area, in Ponte di Tavole to be precise – probably the part of Forte least known to vacationers. What is it like? It’s an outlying area and thanks to this fact it has kept its simple look, very different from the glamorous profile of the center of town. Until sixty years ago, Vaiana was all farmland: fields and nothing else. My grandfather kept stables and farm animals and my grandmother ran a good-sized shop, where she sold groceries and a little of everything; it was known as the bottega di Anna di Samù. So it was also a point of reference for the area? Oh, yes, definitely. I remember that tourists came to the shop to ask for information of all kinds, from how to find trustworthy domestic help to where to procure bottled gas for cooking. Everyone knew that she always had an answer, whatever the need. Maybe that’s why I so enjoy working in tourist hospitality! What is there in Forte dei Marmi that tourists don’t see? Without a doubt, the Forte that lies along the Versilia river. Where do we start, to explore this Forte? From Ponte di Tavole, on the Querceta side, it’s an easy walk downstream along the bank as far as the golf course. It’s always very quiet, and perfect for dog walkers. Can you go any farther? A turnoff from the path along the bank takes you to Lago di Porta. This is a beautiful protected wetland area, and while it may seem impossible, it’s an oasis of silence and peace even in high summer. But if I prefer to bike? Take a ride through the Roma Imperiale neighborhood, where Ente Ville Versiliesi has installed reproductions of works by Carlo Carrà at the exact points along the Fiumetto at which the master painted them. It’s very interesting to see how little the landscape has actually changed after all this time. A last tip? Our mountains. Get to know them, enjoy them. They are worth it. But then, without the Apuans, the sea at Forte would simply not be the same, would it?
Scorcio della campagna di Vaiana
Il Fiumetto nel quartiere di Roma Imperiale
Il fiume Versilia presso il lago di Porta