Italy tips & suggestions

Forte dei Marmi, Sarzana, Biaghi Gelateria & more

by Erica Berman


Photos: Erica Berman – Forte di Marmi

May 17, 2009 Day 2

Warm sun, breakfast of apricot croissants, too strong coffee and the view with a breeze and birds chirping.  Trying to figure out how to make my new Nikon D90 work; frustration and the realization that I am going to have to actually study the manual and learn how to take a photo (examples of my efforts to be seen in this, and all future, posts)!

We are heading out in a bit to the Agristurismo restaurant  that Anotonio heartily recommends. Being an apparently avid foodie, we are taking his word and off to enjoy the big Sunday meal amidst a flock of what will most certainly be boisterous Italian families out for their Sunday repast en famille.

Lunch was a bit heavier then we expected. A fixed price menu with a lot of courses (none particularly memorable except for the semifreddo dessert)….three hours  (which were two too many) later, we were off direction Forte dei Marmi.

fortedimarmi2Forte dei Marmi

This is a small town on a lovely long strip of white, unfortunately dirty, beach. Endless rows of lounge chairs, beach umbrellas, tables, chairs and changing stations are an interesting, and practical, décor.


Forte dei Marmi

Not quite sure if we needed to pay, we just settled in and possibly as it was the end of the day, we were left undisturbed. The beach, otherwise pleasant, is littered with bits and bobs of washed up fabric and plastics. Forte dei Marmi’s décor appears to have left off in the 1950’s with an abundance of inexpensive and slightly abandoned luxury hotels whose kitschy interiors remain in excellent condition, an era well preserved.  The residential area around the beach is rife with lush vegetation, lovely modern homes, chic shopping and a plethora of restaurants.


Pizza Bianca – Funghi Porcini

On our way home we stopped off at the local Pizza Vecchi Sapori joint in Ortonovo and had an excellent Pizza Bianca with funghi porcini and a delicious calzone cooked in the wood burning stove.

May 18, 2009 Day 3

Wifi, surprisingly, works. Had to cave in and check it out: work was calling. As Internet in Italy can be quite the ordeal, this was a refreshing relief. 13h and off for a hike.

The sun is shining and not a cloud in sight. It must be 75 in the sun and cool in the shade as no humidity! First we need to find a perfect Panini…. Been munching on the huge bowl of cherries that Antonio picked at his mother’s and brought back to us….

Later: Back from our walk and our not so perfect salad. One must not forget that Monday in Italy many things are closed. We hiked around Ortonovo and are now preparing for dinner in Sarzana at friends of Antonio’s.


Much later: Dinner was sort of a let-down…. but the gelato afterwards at Biagi was the same delight to us as last year.


Photo courtesy of Biaghi  – Biaghi Gelateria – Sarzana

May 19, 2009 Day 4

Trip to Sarzana and lunch on the terrace of our favorite bar, Massimo. Fab foccacia and paninis. We ordered our San Bitters whose sweet refreshing taste helped to wash away some of the heat.


San Bitter

We managed a short sweaty hike up to the local XV century Fort – Fortezza di Sarzanello… HOT! The view, panoramic.


Fortezza di Sarzanello

Biaghi  Gelateria – Sarzana

Via Muccini 11/B  – Sarzana Tel/Fax 0187-621869  email: [email protected]


Forte dei Marmi –

Bar Massimo Sarzana –  Via Castruccio 3  – 19038 Sarzana (SP)

Ristorante Vecchi Sapori – Via Larga 82, Ortonovo  Tel: 0039 0187 66514

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Written By

Erica Berman

Erica Berman grew up in Lexington, Mass. After graduating from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Journalism and an intensive summer at Middlebury College (Vermont), Erica went to Paris with hopes of submerging herself in French culture and perfecting her French -- and she stayed 20 years. Erica is the founder of the HiP Paris Blog and Haven In her former company. She now splits her time between Paris (Montmartre) and Maine (Midcoast). She recently started a non-profit growing organic produce for the food insecure in Maine called Veggies to Table. In her all-too-rare free time, Erica likes to travel off the beaten track, explore Paris and Maine, read, take photos, cook, kayak, hike and enjoy long Sunday brunches with her friends. View Erica Berman's Website

One comment on “Forte dei Marmi, Sarzana, Biaghi Gelateria & more

the paris apartment

Hi Erica, it looks like you’re having a fantastic time and it’s great to live vicariously through your travels. I’m supposed to head to Italy this fall and will definitely check out Liguria! Looking forward to more adventures and pics. Looks like you’re starting to master your camera!

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