What to Do in Pietrasanta, Italy

Track down the town’s famous frescoes, seek out its sculptures, then head to the pine-fringed beaches for a lazy afternoon, Pietrasanta-style

You can't visit Pietrasanta without exploring its elegant streets in search of its artistic spirit. Luckily, this bohemian town puts its creative endeavours front and centre, with more than a few famous artists having donated works to the city. The elegant historic centre features everything from famous frescoes to ancient sculptures, much of it free to view. Put cooler Tuscan mornings to good use by taking in the opulent cathedral overlooking the central piazza (and checking out the sculpture collection at the nearby Museum of Bozzetti), then make like the resident Tuscans and head straight to the beach to soak up some sun.

A cartoon figure playing a lute in Botero's Heaven Fresco
Photo credit: Claudio Giovanni Colombo / Shutterstock.com


Botero artwork

Take a stroll down Pietrasanta's main street, Via Giuseppe Mazzini, and visit La Misericordia. The tiny chapel is adorned with two famous paintings, Colombian painter Fernando Botero's Heaven and Hell frescoes. The murals are typical of the 20th-century artist's work, featuring large, rotund figures presented in a storybook environment. Once you've marvelled at his voluminous cherubim and red-hot hellfire, seek out his Warrior sculpture, just around the corner.


Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 55045

The pine-fringed beaches of Pietrasanta
Photo credit: Federico Neri / Shutterstock.com


Hit the beach

Public service announcement: in summer, everything in town closes at midday, at which point almost everyone makes a beeline for the beach. Rent a couple of bicycles from hotel Albergo Pietrasanta and cycle down Via Apua through pinewood forests until you hit the coast. Once there, hire a tent at one of the many bagnos (beach clubs) that fringe the shore.

A bell tower in Lucca, Italy with mountains behind


The city of Lucca

Hop in the car and set the satnav for Lucca. The 40-minute drive will be worth it for all of the Renaissance art, enotecas (wine bars) and grand old churches you'll discover packed tightly into the stony confines of this medieval walled city. We suggest saddling up and skirting the city's crumbling walls by bike for an on-the-ground introduction to its storied streets.


Lucca, Italy

White-tented stalls at a flea market
Photo credit: Simona Sirio / Shutterstock.com


Forte dei Marmi Flea Market

On Wednesday and Sunday mornings, the most fabulous flea market unravels slap bang in the centre of Forte dei Marmi, just a 30-minute bike ride from Pietrasanta. After you've picked up as many supple leather goods and as much boho beachwear as your suitcase will allow, order a cappuccino and a fresh spremuta d'arancia (freshly squeezed orange juice) at the nearby Caffè Principe.


Forte dei Marmi, Italy

A large chunk of white marble at a quarry


Take a trip to the Carrara marble quarry

Drive out to Carrara for a peek at a centuries-old marble quarry that some say provided the raw material for Michelangelo's David. Whether that's true or not, this Medici-opened marvel certainly looks impressive - especially when viewed from one of the open-top jeeps that take visitors up the cliff face for a small fee.


Carrara, Italy

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