Typeface hunting in Viareggio

January 31, 2013 / Art & Archaeology
Viareggio, Tuscany
IMG_20130112_003741Northern Tuscany’s Viareggio is famous for beaches lined with endless rows of brollies, a mad carnival in winter, and ridiculously large luxury yachts docking in its harbour all through the year (most of them built right in town). But if you’re a lover of typeface, font and signage, you’ll be looking at quite different sights.

Walking or cycling along the city’s lungomare (the seaside promenade), font geeks can’t but wonder… how come signage is still an art in Viareggio, whilst the rest of the world is drowning in a never-ending assault of in-your-face neon lighting?

IMG_20130111_233943No doubt, part of the reason lays in the fine architecture. Art nouveau and art deco buildings are found all along Viareggio’s beachfront. It’s hard to mess around with that kind of historic building – even for people who are not particularly sensitive to graphic design.

Once known as “the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea”, Viareggio used to be one of Europe’s most famous beach resorts in the first decades of the 20th century. During a cappuccino, an aperitivo or a shopping spree on the beautiful seaside promenade, you’ll understand why.

Architectural headaches can be found in Viareggio too. But luckily, economic development and real estate juggling still hasn’t managed to suppress the city’s lively inhabitants’ innate taste for typeface, font and a good old sign.




Katja Meier

by Katja Meier

Katja Meier, Swiss miss for anything Tuscan – wine, food, culture, art and beaches – basically anything that will sort out that Renaissance hangover. She blogs about  Southern Tuscany in general and Siena and Montalcino in particular. 

7 Responses to “Typeface hunting in Viareggio”

  1. Taube Ponce

    Thanks so much for sharing this info and insights. I have been briefly in Viareggio while going to and from Pietrasanta, and hadn’t noticed the lovely variety of type faces.

  2. Colleen Simpson

    Great photos and note, Katja! I am a typeface nut and always enjoy the great variety that Viareggio offers. A lovely little gioiello of a note.

  3. Linda Boccia

    Good for you Katja! We lived in Lucca for 6 months and loved it. There were frequent trips to Viareggio via the bus as parking was always difficult. And strange to say I did not truly notice the typeface of various establishments. Next time I will check them out more closely.
    And kudos for you to organize and assist people post cancer treatments. Having been there I also recommend that people look into qigong, the 5000 yr. Chinese gentle healing exercises at” the chicenter.com. They have greatly healed my lymphodema leg.


  4. What a fun note, Katja. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. These signs and the colorful old buildings certainly do create an atmosphere.

  5. Thank you so much for this lovely story, a beautiful and different perspective. I lived in Italy for many years and don’t believe I ever visited Viareggio although many other seaside towns for sure. Will certainly try to visit next time!

  6. Katja Meier

    Thanks everybody for your lovely comments. I took the pics in autumn, when Viareggio is less busy. It’s certainly more difficult to note the signs in summer when the lungomare is crowded with all the beach-goers.

    And Linda, I totally agree about qigong. Movement is so important for cancer survivors (for all of us really!) and qigong is a great way to start, even more so for anybody looking for a gentle approach. Great to hear that it worked well for your leg!


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