We chose Massa as our destination to stop at for a few days as we had passed through on the coast road on our way to Torre del Lago Puccini and thought it looked a good place to stop for some beach life and easy cycling. There are five ACSI campsites very close to each other in Massa, of which only three were still open, so we headed for the one we thought sounded best and upon arrival asked if we could take a look around before booking in. There was a very friendly lady on reception who said, “yes of course”, so off we went. Well, we thought we had arrived at Sangatte refugee camp as there were lots of units covered with tarpaulin under which there was a caravan, a lean-to, a bit of decking, old bicycles and looked as if they hadn’t been lived in for years! The toilet facilities didn’t fare much better either, so we decided not to stay and the poor lady on reception was so surprised that we didn’t want to stay and asked us why and we just said we wanted to be closer to the beach, to which she then replied that it was the nearest campsite to the beach. We just had to say that we may be back then and made a hurried exit.
The second campsite was a slight improvement so we decided to stay for one night and then decide what to do the next day. We walked to the third campsite in the book and it was probably the best of them all, the best toilet facilities of the three, a much smaller campsite but they may have had a bit of trouble fitting us both in so we decided to stay put where we were. We had a nice pitch, however the electrics are only 3amp and keep going off, the washing facilities are not great but they are clean and you need to get tokens from reception to have a shower. Despite dousing ourselves with insect repellent we have all been eaten alive. The up side is that it is close to the beach and a small shop selling fresh bread and milk.
We’ve spent the past 3 days on the beach and cycling from the campsite southwards along the coast road for about 7 miles. The coast road stretches from Massa all the way to Viareggio and is lined with a mixture of restaurants and bars with their own private beaches and public beaches. The beach along this stretch really is very good and there is a cycle path that runs the length of it, making cycling very easy and safe. The closest public beach to us it at Partaccia and we enjoyed a full day on it yesterday, it is safe for swimming and in the high season there are plenty of bars and restaurants. However, we do feel that this is the shabbier end of town, certainly compared to the stretch of beach from Massa Marina to Cinquale, the stretch that we cycled today.
It really does feel like the end of the season as a lot of the restaurants have already closed, it is very quiet here, which is actually quite nice but because of that it does lack a bit of atmosphere. This area, particularly at Carrara is most popularly known for its white marble quarried from the foothills of the Apuane Alps that have been worked since Roman times. In fact the backdrop of the Alps look like they are capped with snow but the white is the marble that has been gouged out.
Tomorrow we start our journey heading north and homeward bound, taking the scenic route and allowing ourselves 5 days to reach Eurotunnel.