Viareggio had origin from a castle that was built in 1172, to defende the coast and the surrounding territory. Today it is the main town of the Versilia, and offers 10 km of sandy, fine and soft beaches, equipped and free.
Near the city, there is Torre del Lago Puccini, the only hamlet of Viareggio. To the original name of Torre del Lago, it has been added recently the one of Puccini, in order to honor the great composer Giacomo Puccini who lived and composed many of his works here. Every year, in the summer, there is the Festival Puccini, in which his compositions are played in an open theatre on the lake of Massaciuccoli.
Viareggio is known, not only as a touristic locality, but also because of its Carnival, with allegorical wagons, that parade along the "Passeggiata a mare". It is considered the most important carnival of Italy and of Europe, and it dates back to 1873. The official masks are Burlamacco and Ondina, designed in 1931. The Carnival brings along the ways of Viareggio thousands of tourists, who look the works of the "carristi", the constructors of the immense figures made of papier-mâché, that parade between thousand colours and music.