There is a little seaside town on the Etruscan Coast that few people know about, that is even to say, few Italians know about. It’s called Vada.
I have to say how lucky I truly am to have the experience I have in Italy. If I were simply a backpacker, I never would have heard about Vada, probably never would have been to the Italiawave Festival and would have passed through Florence in a week or so without a sideways glance.
It’s probably most enjoyed for it’s close vicinity to the Spiagge Bianche (white beaches), a beautiful spread of white sand and blue-green water. There are also a number of other great beaches just a short drive away, and Vada has it’s own beautiful beaches walking distance from the center.
It is a popular Italian tradition to spend the summer camping at the seaside. I got the pleasure of seeing this first hand on Sunday night when we went for a coffee at Lorenzo’s grandparent’s campsite. I was amazed. The campsites consist of a medium-sized trailer, an added on “room” (living room/bedroom), an outside area with tent and picnic table, an additional tent with shower, and washing machine! It was quite literally, home away from home. I can see the appeal, and the kids get to meet up with their friends from the past summers and spend their nights riding bikes around the campsite and going around the few tiny bars. It reminded me of my few camping experiences growing up. If you happen to know an Italian family, I would suggest getting in on their camping plans!
A typical day in Vada is cozy, lazy. It consists of getting groceries at the small Conad supermarket (there is also a larger Coop towards the train station) for lunch on the beach and then heading to any of the nearby beaches for the day to relax and people watch. Coming home, dinner is easy to make outside on the BBQ, a much welcomed home comfort! After dinner we head to one of the gelaterias, mostly we enjoy A Tutto Yogurt, the yogurteria that serves rich frozen yogurt with a variety of toppings to choose from!
The sea air is fresh and we usually spend our nights at the one and only friendly pub in town, Eksoticus, the bartender’s have started to recognize us and give us a smile when we come in. They can always be found sitting outside enjoying drinks and summer air with their friends between customers.
In the center of the town there is a park, which acts as the main square. It’s beautiful and just like other great squares in Italy, is headed by an immense church. Often on summer nights, an evening market can be found here running until nearly midnight. There is also a play area and many benches to just sit and enjoy the summer air.
Surrounding the square and following the walking path to the beach you can find a number of quality seafood restaurants and pizzerias, you can’t go wrong in Vada; tourist traps don’t exist!
There are plenty of tourists there, in fact, yesterday we had to look two towels beyond us to even hear anyone speaking in Italian. We are often surrounded by the German and Dutch that come to Italy to escape their freezing cold, or lack of, seaside. Therefore
you find that often the staff around the town speaks English, so don’t let language barrier defer you from this tiny town!
If you want to visit a town that is more traditionally local than touristy, that has a multitude of FREE beaches (an apparent luxury in Italy) and a cozy, surf-town feel then Vada is your next stop! Be sure to check the tourist office for activities too–we enjoyed kitesurfing, but there are plenty of other options available!