Northern 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?
No 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, 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.