Pietrasanta is a fascinating town that resembles an open-air contemporary sculpture museum. It’s a creative and lively place, dotted with quaint art galleries and shops.

The scenic Piazza Duomo, surrounded by beautiful buildings, makes the perfect spot for an evening aperitivo. It’s a favourite day trip destination for sun worshippers who spend the Summer holiday on the Versilia coast in Tuscany, Italy.

Pietrasanta – a jewel between the coast and the Apuan Alps in Tuscany, Italy

Pietrasanta’s location is hard to beat. It is set a few kilometres from the glitzy Versilia coast in Tuscany, and very close to the Apuan Alps, the marble rich mountains where Michelangelo would come to choose the material for his creations. This is an area famous worldwide for this artistic connection and the town of Pietrasanta keeps reinventing itself thanks to its passion for sculpture.

This small Italian town has attracted artists for centuries, and this hasn’t changed. Still today, Pietrasanta attracts local and international artists – like the Colombian Botero and the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj who died in 2104 and lived in Pietrasanta for many years. Many of these artists come for the quality of the marble, and stay for the competence and experience of the local foundries and artisans. As a result Pietrasanta, or “Sacred Stone”, has become known around the world as a place synonymous with sculpture.

More trip ideas? Discover the best small towns in Tuscany to visit!

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charming small towns in tuscany
Pietrasanta – photo @AVgraphicdesigner on pixabay

What to see and do in Pietrasanta

The Cathedral square, where old and new artistic expressions meet, is the perfect spot for an inspirational stroll. It gets quite busy during the Summer, and lively in the evening with plenty of bars and cafes to enjoy.

Via Garibaldi is home to commercial art galleries and a 17th century baptistry with two magnificent marble fonts. Via Mazzini, the main shopping street, is dotted with contemporary sculptures and lovely door and window details. Here marble is king.

Cathedral of St. Martin (13th-14th centuries). The elegant white marble facade has an impressive 14th century rose window.  Above the portal, there are scenes from the Life of Christ. The coats of arms on the facade are a reminder of Genoese and Florentine domination. Inside there’s a notable marble pulpit (1508). Frescoes from the 19th century cover most of the walls and ceiling.

The interior of Pietrasanta Cathedral
Photo by Hans Peter Schaefer, http://www.reserv-a-rt.deSelf-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Museo Bozzetti “Pierluigi Gherardi” – a different and interesting way to look and to learn about the art of sculpting. It is hosted in the former Church of Saint Augustine, which makes a fascinating setting for this very original museum. It has a collection of the moulds of famous sculptures cast or carved in Pietrasanta.

Love sculpture? Check out the places to see Michelangelo’s works in Florence.

The Church of Sant’Antonio Abate – this church in Via Mazzini has two gorgeous frescoes, Paradise and Hell, by Ferdinando Botero (1993). Bold colours and his signature over-sized characters populate these frescoes. In Hell the Devil reigns, with Avarice counting money and Hitler burning amongst tongues of fire, in Heaven a chubby Madonna looks after peace-makers Maria Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Fernando.

Botero, fresco in Sant’Antonio Abate church
Di I, Sailko, CC BY 2.5, Collegamento

⇒ The tourist information in Piazza Statuto will give you a map of the town centre, with a list of all the works of art that you can see around town. See our blog post about why we love Pietrasanta for more photos and info.

Where is Pietrasanta in Tuscany – What to see nearby

Pietrasanta is 35 kms. from Lucca, 38 kms. from Pisa, 14 kms. from the coastal town resort of Viareggio on the Versilia coast.

⇒ The Apuan Alps are a short drive away. In half an hour you reach Colonnata, a fascinating village perched on the slope of the Apuan Alps, famous for the marble quarries and ‘lardo di Colonnata‘, the delicious cured pork fat that is one of typical Tuscan delicacies.

What to pack for your trip to Tuscany.