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Camaiore is a town of over 30,000 inhabitants, extending from the peaks of the Apuan Alps to the Ligurian Sea, in the heart of Versilia.
The climate that characterizes the town of Camaiore is typical of Versilia, influenced by the action of the sea: mild in winter, not too hot in summer.
The municipal territory includes 24 hamlets and among them the most famous and populated: Lido di Camaiore, a well-known beach resort with sandy beaches.
The history of the city of Camaiore dates back to 190 BC when the Romans, founded Lucca, decided to build Major Campus, from which the name Camaiore was derived.
Camaiore has many artistic jewels inside the walls, among which stands the Collegiate of Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the middle of the 13th century, next to a bell tower of 1350, and the large central rosette of the 14th century. Of the same period is the Latin cross structure with double entrance. The dome was built in the 15th century, while in 1536 the church suffered serious damage due to the earthquake. In the 18th century the dome, the apse and the lateral chapels were rebuilt. The baroque style interior is divided into three naves with Romanesque columns. Among the preserved works of art is a sixteenth-century organ; a three-cuttlefish crucifix; a canvas representing the Madonna del Carmine; a marble altar of SS. Annunziata of 1659 and a sixteenth-century palace representing the Last Supper. Other things to see: the door of San Pietro or Lombricese, built in the same period of castelian walls, erected in 1374.
Along via IV Novembre, which follow the ancient Francigena route, there is one of the oldest churches in Camaiore, the Church of San Michele, present here already in 1180 and rebuilt after being damaged by the bombings of World War II.
Nearby, there is the small Olive Theater, which has the same structure as 1700 when it was built. Do not miss the visit to the church of San Vincenzo Confessore: built in the 16th century, it is known as the church of pain. The Romanesque Badia of San Pietro di Camaiore, preceded by the entrance arch of the ancient monastery already cited in 761. Founded by Benedictine monks, the church is what remains of the ancient monastery, together with the refectory and remains of the cloister, nowadays in private buildings.
The Pieve di Santo Stefano e Giovanni Battista (church of St. Stephen and John the Baptist) is not far from Camaiore. In Romanesque-Lucchese style, the current building dates back to the 13th century, but probably already existed at the end of the first millennium. Next to the apse stands the bell tower with a double door. Inside there is the baptismal, ancient and valuable Roman marble sarcophagus of the sixth century. In the right side chapel there is a crucifix of the seventeenth century, while on the left of the main altar there is a 15th century triptych depicting the Madonna on the throne with Child.
In the center of Camariore there are many historical buildings that have embellished over the centuries the town. In Piazza San Bernardino, next to the Torre Campanaria, there is the Palazzo del Vicario, the current headquarters of the Bank of Lucca; in Via XX Settembre there are the Palazzo Papini, the seat of Prioria since 1966 and the Town Hall building. In the Tori Massoni palace, built from the 16th to the 17th century, with the raised portal with large windows on the two floors, the Archaeological Museum of Camaiore is set up.
In the Archaeological Museum only the didactic section can be visited, with prehistoric finds coming from the Grotta dell’Onda as stone tools of the Paleolithic, bone and flint tools, fragments of ceramic vases, ornaments in shell. The Etruscan-Ligurian phase is instead represented with the ceramics and reconstructions of burials; the Roman period, with coins and pottery from the villa dell’Aquarella, while the medieval-Renaissance period, with archaeological and ceramic majolica from the underground excavations of the same Palazzo Tori Massoni or in the castles of the territory.
Villa Borbone delle Pianore is a luxurious historic villa surrounded by a nineteenth-century park of five acres, rich in exotic plants and native species. It consists of three buildings erected in several centuries. In the center there is the oldest part, the eighteenth-century villa of Maria Teresa di Savoia, Duchess of Lucca, formerly a mill, to which a chapel was annexed. The south part, called the palace of Duke Roberto, is in Renaissance style. The northern part is finally in 1964, nowadays used as high school.
The marina of Camaiore is the Lido di Camaiore, with over four kilometers of fine sandy beach, one of the first resorts of seaside tourism in Italy in the early 1900s.
Close to Camaiore there are many villages of high-medieval origin, e.g.: Greppolungo, with fascinating ruins of a castle of 1200 and rocky window on a panorama from which you can see Camaiore and the sea, and with paths to climb Mount Gabberi. Lombrici, with the Church of San Biagio in Romanesque style. Nocchi, dating back to the year 800, with villas, mills and olive groves. In the hamlet of Nocchi there is also the seventeenth-century Villa Montecatini Bartolomei. The original structure of the villa dates back to the 14th-15th century. Today it is a hotel. Pedona, built on a castle of the year 1099, with view from the basin of Camaiore to the sea. There is also the Traversata delle Frazioni Camaioresi, also known as Via Bassa, a path that joins several fractions. The route starts from the village of Santa Lucia and arrives to Fibbiano Montanino, through Monteggiori, La Culla, Greppolungo, Casoli, Metato, Summonti, Peralla, Torcigliano, Gombitelli and Migliano.