Established by the Romans, this little town is situated in the centre of a valley and is surrounded by hills and the southern Apennines . From the 900's, it was known to be a place where pilgrims and travellers could find a hostel or inn in which to spend the night.
In 1255, both Camaiore and Pietrasanta were conquered by the Republic of Lucca , who proceeded to reconstruct both towns in such a way that many similarities can still be seen today between their respective layouts. Camaiore was once surrounded by a moat where the city's protective walls were later built, and in 1847, the town became part of the state of Tuscany . Like Pietrasanta, Camaiore also has its own beach, Lido di Camaiore
, which lies between Viareggio and Pietrasanta on the Lungomare, the sea front road, and has many hotels and bathing establishments to offer the visitor. Around the town of Camaiore however, nestled in the foothills of the mountains, are many agriturismo, private country homes and villas in which accommodation can be found for the most discerning visitor. A walk through the town's historc center is an enchanting experience; the cobbled streets are filled with local shops and stores offering food and fashion, and the town has a large number of pieve or churches, all of which are wonderful examples of the various types of architecture throughout the Middle Ages.
The lovely Romanesque Collegiate Church o
f 1278, the church of San Michele , and the Benedictine Abbey (11 th C) are just a few examples. Of special importance is the Museum of Sacred Art (inside the church of San Michele ), where relics and valuable objects from eras gone by are kept. The hills above Camaiore are threaded with trails and pathways leading into the mountains and to other tiny viallages and hamlets that can be explored on foot, or on horseback. The town's weekly market is held every Friday. In June every year the Festival of Corpus Domini is held, in which artists and artisans come to Camaiore to create carpets of coloured sawdust in the town center. The designers begin creating their works of art on the evening preceding the festivities-usually the third Saturday in June-and work all through the night to complete their "carpets
" until the procession passes by and sweeps them away. Camaiore is home to one of Italy 's oldest and most charming theatres with only 300 seats, Teatro dell'Olivo, or the Olive Theatre , was founded in 1571. The building was restructured several times thoughout the ages, and during WWII it was occupied by German forces, after which it was restored in 1950. After seeing many years of closure, Teatro dell'Olivo reopened to the public in 2003 sporting a brand new facelift and offering a wonderfully diverse array of summer entertainment. To get to Camaiore, follow the Aurelia from Viareggio to Pietrasanta, or take the Lungomare, and turn inland at Lido di Camaiore.