Tuscany is full of enchanting towns so it is hard to pick favorites. If I had to make a list Pietrasanta would be in the top five. Known for the artists who moved to Pietrasanta throughout its history Pietrasanta is well loved by Italians and tourists alike. Everything in Pietrasanta shows off the creative influences on this beautiful city, from the churches to the Piazzas and the sculptures throughout the city. Pietrasanta is one of the most welcoming city in Tuscany, the large piazzas, wide streets, delicious restaurants, great art exhibits, history and shopping Pietrasanta never disappoints.
What To Do In Pietrasanta
My favorite spot in Pietrasanta is Piazza Duomo. The large piazza sits under the incredible Apuan Alps with a fortress standing guard under the beautiful blue Italian sky. Restaurants and cafes line the perimeter of the Piazza with tables full of people drinking, eating and relaxing. It is the perfect embodiment of what Italy is. The piazza has rotating art exhibits throughout the year as well. We had a beautiful lunch here in one of the contemporary restaurants.
Duomo Of San Martino
The Pietrasanta Duomo of San Martino and Bell Tower are in the Piazza Duomo as well. The front of the Duomo is understated, holding the secret of what is inside. When we stepped through the front doors of the 14th century building we were completely transfixed. The incredible statue of Jesus is one of the most emotionally expressive statues of Jesus I have seen. Its marble configuration shows the value the Italians place not only on religion but also on art. Hanging from the ceiling is an incredible coat of arms, immaculately positioned and constructed. As we made our way through the church we were constantly stopping to point out the carvings, the stairs, the altar, the capitals, and the quiet sophistication which was completely unexpected.
The Bell Tower is just to the left of the Duomo. We peaked inside, not eager to climb to the top on a hot summer day. What we found was an architectural masterpiece. The spiral stairs create a perfect seashell affect as the brick winds its way from the bottom to the top. For centuries people have been in awe of this mathematical wonder designed by Michelangelo.
The Palazzo Pretorio served as the old Captain of Justice. Inside were many small art exhibits, all leading out to the main courtyard. Here we were able to take in more sculpture but also to see the grandeur of what this building once was. There are a few remaining pieces of the frescoes which would have adorned the entire space. I couldn’t help but sit for a while and imagine what it must have been in centuries past.
The Church Of Saint Agostino
I loved this church. The frescoes inside were beautiful but the church showed its wear. It is a shell of what it used to be, but the humble space now holds beautiful art exhibits. When we were visiting there was a beautiful sculpture of a mother breast feeding in the center of the church. Behind the altar were more paintings of mothers feeding their babies. The contrast between the modern art and the ancient church was fantastic. What struck me more was the homage they paid to the beautiful relationship between a mother and her child. I was moved by the space and the communities dedication to exhibiting art that speaks to its viewers.
Shop & Dine
I love the shops in Pietrasanta. The creativity is so welcoming and inspiring. The shop owners are all happy to show off their unique products, many made by locals. There are some great little bars, coffee shops and restaurants along the way, so take your time, shop, drink and eat-you won’t regret it.
Forte dei Marmi and Beach of Marina di Pietrasanta
Pietrasanta is only 2 miles from the coast so if you have a car, or want to hop in a taxi take a ride to the Beach of Marina di Pietrasanta and visit Forte dei Marmi. The Italian coast varies so much from town to town it is always worth spending time in as many as possible. Forte dei Marmi is a fashionable town with great clothing markets and coffee shops so bring some money and be prepared to shop.
While I have never been up the hill I have it on my to do list the next visit to Pietrasanta. On the hill is the Guinigi Palace and Rocca di Sala. While you can’t enter the Guinigi Palace the 600 year old building provides a great place to view the city from above.