Home Territory of Versilia Culture in Versilia Viareggio's history Viareggio's history Viareggio founded since XII century ... Viareggio founded since XII century from Lucchesi and Genovesi who, allied against Pisa, they built a tower to defend the coast.The small fortress took the name castrum di via regia, in as much as it rose at the end of that important road which had been laid under the protection of the Emperor Federico Barbarossa.The castle, which the Pisans and Luccans fought over for some time, lost its military importance over the course of two centuries. In the 16th century, after Lucca was forced to move its port to the mouth of the Burtamacca canal, the Torre Matilde (Mathilda Tower) was built in the place of the old castrum.This helped the formation of an inhabited nucleus. In 1559 the first church was built. It was originally called San Pietro and later dedicated to the Santissima Annunziata.Maria Luisa of Bourbon made a Iarge contribution to the urban development of the town. In 1820 a decree elevated it to the rank of city.Paolina Bonaparte chose it as a holiday spot, and built herself a sumptuous villa which is still in existence.At the beginning of this century, Viareggio hand on the physiognomy of a Liberty city, which was, unfortunately seriously damaged in the great fire of 1917.The most important names of those involved in the reconstruction are Galileo Chini and Alfredo Belluomini, the one responsible for the urban Layout as it stands today, a grid of wide tree-lined avenues which reach the sea.