I t is possible to breathe in the lively, intelligent and educated soul of this town from the moment that you cross the Porta di Pietrasanta. You will be welcomed by the wonderful Piazza del Duomo, where this great Cathedral dominates the square “just like in a big city” as the poet Carducci put it, built in the 14th century on a wide marble stairway and flanked by the fascinating bell tower made of exposed bricks.
The wish to roam the streets in the ancient town is irresistible, between prestigious wine shops, romantic restaurants, elegant and always up to date boutiques and extremely interesting art galleries, all held together by a fascinating style which is unique in the world.
Between the enchanting buildings of the town centre you can not miss small churches like the church of the “Misericordia”, which is unique thanks to the frescos by the Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero. Paradise and hell are depicted facing each other in an unmistakable way, which can not be overlooked in Pietrasanta. The artist lives since 1983 a few months a year in Pietrasanta, to which he has already given many of his works. The sculpture “Il Guerriero”, which faces the town hall, watches over the town (without striking too much fear) in the main square of the centre. There stands one of the historically most relevant buildings for public functions, to which it had always been dedicated, the Palazzo Moroni. It is immediately recognisable because of the external double staircase, and is today the residence of the historical archive of the town and of the “Bruno Antonucci” archaeologic museum of the region of Versilia.
What makes Pietrasanta unique is not only the multitude of artists which left their mark, such as Botero, Igor Mitorai, the sculptor of the monumental bronze statue “Il Centauro” in the small Centauro square, the Czech Ivan Theimer, Marcello Tommasi, which was born in Pietrasanta, or the Spanish Salvador Dalì. What makes Pietrasanta a unique place in the world is the historical importance of this town for carving marble, which can be seen by the view that the impressive Apuan Alps offer to the town and to the entire region of Versilia. Many workshops, among which stands out the ancient Studio Cervetti which owns one of the most impressive collection of casts in Italy, with items that are hundreds of years old such as the original cast of the “David” of Michelangelo. Michelangelo himself resided in Pietrasanta while he was choosing the marble in the quarries nearby for his most famous works.
Next to the visual arts, literary arts do not come short in Pietrasanta, where the poet Giosuè Carducci was born, who won the Nobel prize for literature. The eclectic Gabriele D’Annunzio resided for a few years in the famous villa “La Versiliana” in the pine forest, which was the inspiration to one of his most famous poems “La pioggia nel pineto”, and where he wrote the most famous verses of “Alcyone” and “Francesca da Rimini”.
3.5 kilometres away from the town centre, reachable by foot or by bike on the bike track that crosses Viale Apua (or if you prefer by car or by bus), you can find Marina di Pietrasanta, which opens up the curtains to the beach of the region of Versilia. It is famous all over the world for its beaches (certified “Bandiera Blu” every year since 2005) and for the characteristic worldliness.
The merging of Viale Apua and the beach is fascinating because of the Parco della Versiliana with its admirable Ponte del Principe, named honour of the grand duke Leopoldo di Lorena. The park, with its big and fantastic pinewood forest, is the ideal place for walks by foot or by bike, picnics and especially sports, thanks to its various natural pathways of varying levels and stables for those who love horse outings; there are special areas for children playgrounds as well.
Relaxation is assured by the abundant offer of well-equipped bathing establishments, the bright colours of the sky at sunset, which offer a great background to the famous aperitifs and happy hours of Versilia, followed by the warm and dim lights of restaurants, where you can savour the gastronomic delicacies typical to the region. Fun and worldliness are assured by the historical cafés and bars and fashionable night clubs which mark the seaside of Versilia.
For those of you who love art, are hungry for culture, desire worldliness, can’t get enough relaxing walks on the beach and adventurous hikes in the mountains, simply for all of you, Pietrasanta is the perfect place for a vacation or even for a simple stop in your trip. It will for sure leave a lively, unmistakable and long-lasting impression.
And, furthermore, you can enjoy Pietrasanta all-year long: as the entire Versilia territory ,it has a very pleasant climate for the entire year: it is mild in the winter months and not too cold in summer.
So, come on and visit us!