Say Tuscany and most people think of hilltop villages or cities like Florence. Yet only 45 minutes' drive from Florence (20 from Pisa airport), you see another side of Tuscany.

Forte dei Marmi is where rich Italians migrate to in August. Italy's answer to Cannes has grand hotels, regimented lines of sunloungers on the long beach and chic villas owned by the likes of Giorgio Armani.

Set a couple of minutes back from the sea, the new Principe Forte dei Marmi is a world away from the sun-hued palazzos. More Milanese cutting-edge than Belle Époque design, the interiors are all clean lines and floor-to-ceiling windows; the white and neutral furnishings are like a who's who of Italian design. Yet among the Tuscan villas, the hotel's design gels rather than jars. Walking in past the sunglasses-and-black-clad staff, you'll feel as cool as the hotel looks.

Wow factor: The achingly cool rooftop bar, with views of the mountains and the sea.

Flight time: Two hours.

Go: Doubles from £410 ( Easyjet (0871 244 2366; flies to Pisa from £52.65 return.