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Today, the city of Viareggio includes some 60,000 inhabitants. The main industry is tourism, but the city is also a center of ship building and sailing. Viareggio is water-centric. The pulse of the city can be felt along the 3 km-long Passeggiata, a promenade along the beach lined with boutiques, restaurants and cafes on one side and the beach on the other. The beach has a series of "bathing area," where people can rent beach chairs and go swimming. Just outside the city are vast swathes of pine forests, planted to keep the marsh that used to dominate the area at bay.
Viareggio is particularly known for its Carnival celebration, the series of festivities leading up to Lent and culminating in Shrove Tuesday. Each year a number of parades take place in the city during which giant papier-maché puppets proceed along the streets on floats. During the parades, a panel judges the floats in terms of creativity and artistic quality. Each neighborhood organizes its own celebration, replete with food, drink, music and dancing. The largest celebrations are centered around the dock area, where people feast on fish and other seafood.