Category Archives: Versilia

news and posts about the Versilia area



Pietrasanta guided tour

Guided tour in Pietrasanta

Meeting point: Pietrasanta train station or the car parking at the back of the station

key of dreams - Ken Yasuda

key of dreams – Ken Yasuda

Duration: 2 or 3 hours

Pietrasanta is an important cultural center and it’s very appreciated by

contemporary artists: some of them live and work in Pietrasanta and their sculptures embellish the city.

Before entering in the historical city center through an ancient gate we will meet the first masterpiece: the “Key of dreams”, a sculpture by Ken Yasuda. Few steps and we will reach the very heart of the old town: Piazza del Duomo, surrounded by the most important religious and residential buildings. The San Martin’s Duomo with an amazing bell tower, precious paintings and many masterpieces from the Renaissence, the Baptistry (Oratorio di San Giacinto) containing two baptismal fonts and the Church of St. Augustine. The Museo dei Bozzetti (the Sketch Museum) is in the ancient convent of this church and it’s worth a visit to understand how artists work nowadays.

Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo

Walking along the main street of the city, full of shops and nice buildings, we find the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate renewed by Fernando Botero with two big frescoes: Heaven and Hell. Then we will reach Piazza Francesco Crispi with the “Porta della Pace” and Piazza Matteotti with the Botero’s “Warrior”. We will discover sculptures and installations, made by famous artists as Igor Mitoraj, scattered in the city.

Pietrasanta is also the right place for many art workshops and it’s possible to see artisan still working marble and bronze with modern and traditional techniques.

Il Centauro - Igor Mitoraj

Il Centauro – Igor Mitoraj

And, calmly sipping a good espresso in some nice coffee shop, we will enjoy the Pietrasanta charming environment!

Nota bene: entrances to churches and museums may not be allowed depending on local and seasonal reasons. Visit to art workshops depends on the artisans’ availability.

Once a year one can go crazy!

This can be the translation from the latin sentence: Semel in anno licet insanire.

The sentence comes from the latin writer Seneca who wrote: “Tolerabile est semel anno insanire” and was quoted by Sant’Agostino in his “De Civitate Dei” VI, 10. Became very famous in Europe during the Middle Ages, it was used to justify small, ephemeral and harmless ‘insanities’ like the Carnival masquerades and revelries.

Carnival is a liberating, collective ritual: one is allowed not to respect social and religious conventions and to behave as a different person, drinking and eating a lot, going to parties, etc..The ritual permitted the communities to face social duties as the long 40 days called Lent that precede Easter in which meat, elaborate foods and glee were banned.


Nowadays, Carnival is no more linked to religious tradition: it offers the opportunity to have fun, to get into fancy dresses, to paint your face and to play some jokes and a lot of cities in Italy, small and big, celebrate Carnival with parties and parades. Probably the most famous are Venezia (you can see some pictures on Once in a Lifetime Travel Blog) and Viareggio.

Viareggio will celebrate Carnival with gorgeous parades in February and March: 3th – 10th – 12th – 17th February (24th Feb has been cancelled due to election day in Italy) and 3rd March. You can find information on the Carnival website and I also suggest you to visit the Carnival Museum where you can see how the big floats are built, how the papier mâché is made and walk along the history of the Viareggio Carnival that involve all the citizens and engage a lot of visitors!

Massaciuccoli Romana

Everything is ready for the 2013 edition of “Massaciuccoli Romana”!!! Don’t miss it on the 6th and 7th July and meanwhile you can read my post about the 2012 edition. 🙂

Yesterday evening I went to Massaciuccoli where the “Festival dell’Antica Roma” was hold. Massaciuccoli is on the homonymous lake (on the opposite shore, there’s Torre del Lago where the Giacomo Puccini’s Villa is) and you can still walk in the middle of the remaining of an ancient Roman Villa owned in the past by the Venulei family, visit the archeological area and the Antiquarium where you can see the many rooms of a “mansio” (a station along the route).

I followed the very interesting tour guided by an archeologist dressed as an ancient Roman and then I entered in the area of the festival where it was possible to eat (a typical Roman meal), look at the Romans fighting against the “barbarians” or to attend to the explainations about the evolution of the Legionary’s dresses or, last but not least, to look at the Gladiators’ encounters!

Different kinds of Gladiators with their heavy weapons, shields, swords were described by the master then they really fought in the arena.

There was also an area where ancient jobs and their working tools were shown as looms or wigs or medical tools.

So the evening was very nice, enjoyable and interesting!