Oftenreferred to as "the Athens of Italy" for the roster of
international artists who have called its streets home over the
years, this medieval town on the Versilia coast is a Tuscan anomaly. Caught between the green Apuan
Alps and the sapphire-blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it was once home to
Michelangelo, Henry Moore and Fernando Botero, and it's not hard to
understand the place's magnetic appeal. Once you've pootled about
its mosaicked streets, cycled out to the rippling hills on the
town's periphery and sunk a bottle of local wine under the
flickering light of a trattoria, you might consider staying a
Despite its allure, and its fabulous transport connections (Pisa
is just half-an-hour away by car), Pietrasanta has kept its cool,
remaining one of Tuscany's lesser-visited towns. We've tapped into
our friends on the ground to build the ultimate guide, taking
visitors from the Piazza Duomo - the town's frenetic central
square, which thrums with laughter, the clinking of glasses and
macchiato-fuelled chit-chat day and night - to the glamorous beach
clubs, just a pine forest away. Now, pour yourself a glass of
Moscato d'Asti and get planning.
Discover Pietrasanta, the Little Athens of Tuscany
Those who like chocolates on their pillows before bed, value a
perfect turn-down service and are suckers for hand-painted frescoes
can't do much better than this striking 17th-century converted
palace. Spread across two stunning buildings, it offers old-school
style in the most elegant (and least stuffy) way possible, tucked
between arched windows, high ceilings and a seriously impressive
modern art collection.
It might not be the most glamorous of hotels, but, perched on
the corner of Piazza Duomo, Hotel Palagi gets a gold star for
location alone. Book the attic room, Suite Mansarda, which comes
with a terrace teeming with azaleas and orchids, as well as views
out over the city's higgledy-piggledy rooftops.
Checkerboard floors, extravagant bed canopies that match the
eccentric wallpaper and a Day-Glo-painted gramophone in the lobby?
Count us in. A 19th-century palace transformed into a quirky hotel,
this is where to stay if you're wanting a taste of Italian opulence
paired with bohemian artistry.