Viareggio in winter is a different ‘kettle of fish’ (‘kettle’ here doesn’t mean the one for boiling water in tea-making but, instead, a special kind of saucepan for fish).
Unlike many English seaside resorts, where summer days can often be as cold as warm winter ones, Viareggio has a quite different atmosphere in winter. All the bathing establishments are closed and the beaches and promenades are empty. I love Viareggio in January and this week we decided to pay a visit to this favourite place of ours.
Where to start but at the caffè Margherita, the stile-liberty concoction so beloved by Puccini and his cronies and where plans for three of his operas were laid.
They make an excellent cioccolato con panna here!
And, next to the caffè, the Mondadori bookshop will keep one browsing for ages…
One can then stroll down to the port and meet the statue of Ettore, the cat who, for nineteen years, would greet fishermen returning with their catch.
Ettore was a starving kitten when found in a cardboard box in 1997 but he soon became a mascot for all frequenters of Viareggio’s port.
(Ettore in 2014)
It was truly a sad time, therefore, when Ettore died in 2016. Funds were raised to erect a statue to his memory and this was inaugurated in November last year. (I thought to myself that I could start making a post about Italian cat statues much in the same way as I had done one on London cats – see my post at https://longoio3.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/i-gatti-di-londra/ )
We bought some fresh fish and very fresh prawns (they were still moving around) from the harbour area.
We also treated ourselves to a delicious fresh fish fry-up served from one of the fishermen’s boats.
A poster reminded me that Viareggio’s fabulous carnival is now with us.
We then moved on to Lido di Camaiore which Sandra remembers well since she spent her holidays there as a little girl.
I loved the bleak expansiveness of the beach, the changing clouds and the lapping waves.
I really do love to be beside the seaside, even in the middle of winter!