This little-visited town on Italy’s Versilia coast has been a magnet for artists throughout history, but somehow has evaded tourist footfall.

It’s referred to as “the Athens of Italy” for the roster of international artists who’ve called this town on the Versilia coast home over the years – Michelangelo, Henry Moore and Fernando Botero being three. Once you’ve pootled about its mosaicked streets, cycled out to the rippling hills on the town’s periphery and sunk a bottle of home-grown wine under the flickering light of a trattoria it’s not hard to see why.

Despite its magnetic appeal to artists past and present as well as fabulous transport connections (Pisa’s just half-an-hour away by car), it’s kept its cool and remains one of Tuscany’s lesser-visited towns. 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, we’ve tapped into our friends on the ground to build the ultimate guide to Pietrasanta. Now, pour yourself a glass of Moscato d’Asti and get planning.

To Stay

Albergo di Pietrasanta

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 17th-century converted palace. It’s old school in the most elegant (and least stuffy) way possible.

  • +39 0584 793726
  • Go to Website
  • Via G. Garibaldi

Hotel Palagi

It’s not the most glamorous of hotels, but perched on the corner of Piazza Duomo, it gets a gold star for location alone. Take the attic room which comes with a terrace teeming with azaleas and orchids, as well as views out over the city’s higgledy-piggledy rooftops.

  • +39 0584 70249
  • Go to Website
  • Piazza Giosuè Carducci

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