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There is a town in Versilia where every corner tells about art, from the cobblestones of the ancient streets to the majestic squares, up to the furniture and the atmosphere inside the houses. This place is Pietrasanta, a city of medieval origin with a heart of marble.

Strolling through the narrow alleys of the small Athens - so called because many artists and intellectuals lived there - is like a museum visit. The town is an open-air art gallery, where ancient treasures and modern masterpieces cling to each other’s.

 

A vocation that comes from afar

 

The dedication of Pietrasanta to art dates back to many centuries ago and makes it a very important cultural center in Tuscany. Also, the processing of marble from the Apuan Alps, later flanked by bronze, began in a remote past but is still handed down from one generation to another.

Even the genius of Michelangelo was captivated by the purity of the local white material when he was sent by Pope Leone X to Pietrasanta to examine and purchase the marble for the facade of San Lorenzo Church in Florence, unfortunately never realized.

The city is dotted with wonderful monuments, traces of excellent minds and great men passed by here. The San Martino Cathedral impresses with its marble facade and interiors embellished with paintings worthy of mention such as the Madonna del Sole, dating back to the 15th century. The Piazza del Duomo also houses the red brick bell tower, characterized by a self-supporting helicoidal staircase, an engineering masterpiece by Donato Benti but probably based on Michelangelo's idea; the Clock Tower, the tallest tower in the city, vestal of the time flowing between the streets of Pietrasanta and the Church of Sant'Agostino with the nearby convent, examples of the most austere Gothic style. 

The convent of San Francesco, a masterpiece of inlaid marble and the Museum of Sketches (“bozzetti”), with more than 300 models of sculptures by Italian and foreign artists, also are worth a visit.

 

The contemporary soul of Pietrasanta

 

Next to ancient art, Pietrasanta stands out for the many contemporary works of art disseminated throughout the city center. Taking a slow stroll through its streets, you can enjoy the permanent works as the Centaur of the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj, that gives the name to the little square (Piazzetta del Centauro), Fernando Botero's Warrior converses with Franco Adami's Judgment of the Minotaur. Furthermore, every year the Piazza del Duomo and the complex of Sant’Agostino are crowded by large sculptures by a famous and important contemporary artist.

You can achieve a varied and exhaustive vision of contemporary art by visiting the numerous galleries located throughout the historic center, Pietrasanta in fact is characterized by a dense concentration of places dedicated to art.  The most interesting galleries include Galleria Poggiali, Bonelli, Flora Bigai, Barbara Paci, Paola Raffo, Susanna Orlando.

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