The Italian playground that’s fighting for its soul

Forte dei Marmi’s newest hotel looks like it belongs in Miami and its pricey villas are full of Russians. And yet this Tuscan resort is trying very hard to remain authentic, says Sarah Barrell

A man in a black suit with black-mirrored shades leads me to a vast Bentley; its paintwork, black, hums in the heat haze. Inside, behind black-tinted windows, the air is white cool.

This is not my usual Italian welcoming party – my in-laws prefer something a little less showy – but then I’ve never been to Forte dei Marmi, and by Italian standards it’s a fairly unique resort. Given that this seaside town has most lately been associated with, if not the Russian mafia, then that country’s wealthy elite, my transfer vehicle seems appropriate.

I find myself on Forte dei Marmi’s narrow, pine-shaded streets within half an hour of leaving Pisa airport. Nowhere are the spaghetti roads and dramatic cliffy drops into hidden, rocky bays that characterise stellar Italian resorts such as Amalfi or Portofino. Here, a landscape of square, modern villas and contemporary takes on country houses line a neat street grid. A palm stretches up from behind a gated driveway, an electric-blue sports car sit in front of a manicured lawn. Inland, behind this orderly patchwork, are the elegant folds of the Apuan Alps, in front, a stretch of golden sand.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/the-italian-playground-thats-fighting-for-its-soul-2046336.html

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