Clubbing in Italy is a unique experience. Here are two extremes of the prestigious Versilian coast’s nightlife, sampled in one mad evening.
First we went to La Capannina in Forte di Marmi, which is arguably the most famous Tuscan nightclub. La Capannina has been open since 1929, thus making it possibly the oldest nightclub in the world. Current owner, Gherado Guidi attributes it’s longevity and success to a combination of things. “La Capannina is a traditional club with a traditional atmosphere. The management doesn’t change very often and we look after our staff well so they look after the customers well in turn.” Guidi, a very dapper older gent, has run the club for 34 years. He takes the Capanina as a business responsibility very seriously. “There are a lot of people relying on La Capannina for their livelihood. So, we do what we have always done – offer an excellent service to clients of all ages and make sure that they have a safe and enjoyable night out.”
And La Capannina certainly delivers. You can go with any age group and, as long as you are well dressed and have enough money (an alcoholic drink costs around €15) you will have a great night. The traditional thing to do is to book a table (for about 10pm) and have dinner in the club. It’s a set meal and costs €30 per head but included in this is your entrance fee and free wine. The food is pretty good, but make sure you eat up quick because the tables all have to be cleared for 12am, which is when the doors open to the crowds. If you don’t want to eat here then don’t bother showing up until midnight as you won’t be let in. You can then dance the night away and go home with the dawn.
We did not however, didn’t stay in La Capannina long after 2am, the music being a little too slow for our liking. We sloped off down the coast to Mamma Mia, the capital of the gay scene just outside Torre del Lago. This is where you go if you want a ‘different’ night out.
In a country where coming out of the closet is still thought to be refering to the walki in wardrobe, Torre del Largo is a safe haven for anyone who dares to be different. The club promotes harmony and acceptance through love, tolerance and lots of men dressing in women’s clothes. Famed for drugs and craziness, we were prepared to retreat at the first sign of trouble. However, this long stretch of gay bars and flamboyant outdoor nightclubs may have been absolutely packed and there were certainly quite a few people decidedly drunk (or whatever) but at 3am people were having a great time. The atmosphere was happy and there wasn’t even a smidgen of aggression. Quite different to the nights out we are used to in the UK. The small stalls selling drinks along the gay ‘high street’ were cheapish (well, at €6 per pint it seemed that way after paying €15 in Capannina) and the atmosphere was of a great big carnival. The music was suitably camp, and could have done to be a bit louder, but on the whole it was a really fun experience.
Driving home at 4.30am the autostrada was as busy as at rush hour… take care and always have a designated non drinking driver – any trace of alcohol in your blood system is considered ‘over the limit’ in Italy.
Article taken from The Tuscan Magazine, written by Sarah Fraser