• Art and Culture

Michelangelo’s marble, the art galleries, the Roman ruins, the Liberty buildings, the Medici Palace UNESCO World Heritage Site, the archaeological museums, the people who have lived and worked here: throughout Versilia there is culture.

If the idea of a holiday only at the beach does not convince you at all or mountain climbing is not for you, do not fear! The Versilia is home to many art forms and historical attractions, so here there is everything you could want for a cultural holiday.

Art and culture in Pietrasanta

In Pietrasanta everything seems to be about art, so much so that it has been dubbed the “Little Athens” of Versilia. With art galleries, bronze foundries and contemporary exhibitions, over the years Pietrasanta has become the refuge of many artists who have chosen to live and work here, such as Joan Miró, Fernando Botero, Jean Michel Folon, Igor Mitoraj and Gio’ Pomodoro. You should also visit the Museum of Sketches and the Musa, the virtual museum of sculpture and architecture.

The old town of Pietrasanta is a treasure trove: on Piazza del Duomo there are the majority of the most important historical buildings and monuments in Pietrasanta from the majestic Cathedral and the streets of the town centre. Beautiful art can be seen even on the monuments that adorn the roundabouts outside of the town centre and in the city’s museums.

Also, do not forget that the village of Valdicastello, in the town of Pietrasanta, was the birthplace of Carducci. The poet and writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature spent his childhood in Valdicastello and today his house is a museum dedicated to his life, where there are furnishings, memories and illustrative panels.

Another famous author who lived in Versilia was Gabriele D’Annunzio, to be precise in the villa in the Versiliana Park where he composed works such as “The Rain in the Pinewood” and “Undulna”.

Art and culture in Viareggio

A walk along the promenade in Viareggio will give you an idea of what this city was like in the early 20th century, when the Liberty style embellished buildings as bathing establishments, cinemas and cafés.

Other attractions not be missed are the museums of the city: if you are interested in modern and contemporary art you must go to the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art and Contemporary Art of Viareggio (GAMC), for archaeology go to the A.C. Blanc Museum of Archeology and Mankind inside the Civic Museums, for 19th-century and 20th-century Italian art the Matteucci Foundation Centre for Modern Art, for something different go to the Maritime Museum and the Giacomo Puccini House Museum in Torre del Lago.

Culture in Viareggio inevitably goes hand-in-hand with the Carnival, the most anticipated event of the year. In February there are parades of giant papier-mâché floats along the Promenade, a local historical tradition known all over the world. To experience a bit of this festival all year round you can visit the Carnival Museum located inside the Citadel. In Torre del Lago every summer in July and August, at the Great Open Air Theatre of Giacomo Puccini, there is the Puccini Festival which celebrates the works of Giacomo Puccini who lived in the house on the lake a few metres from the theatre.

Art and culture in Camaiore

Depending on your perspective, Camaiore seems to have been frozen in time. You get this impression when, walking through the old town, you find the 13th-century church of Santa Maria Assunta, when you are in front of Abbey of San Pietro, when you can admire the coloured sawdust art for the procession of Corpus Christi and the triennial Luminara for Jesus’ Death.

As for historical attractions, in the town there is the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Sacred Art, while outside, along the paths that lead to the surrounding hills, there are prehistoric caves and the Via Francigena.

Art and culture in Seravezza

Seravezza is home to the beautiful Villa Medici Unesco World Heritage Site, built in the 16th century and location of temporary photography exhibitions and the Museum of Work and Folk Traditions of Historical Versilia.

On the mountains behind Seravezza are the quarries where Michelangelo chose the white marble for his works. Here marble has been an identifying element since ancient times and still today Seravezza is a land of marble workers, sculptors and artists. Do not miss the ancient church of Azzano, located in an enviable position between the marble quarries and the sea.

Art and culture in Massarosa

Near Massarosa, in the town of Massaciuccoli, you can still see the remains of an ancient Roman aristocratic villa and baths, as well as the “Roman Massaciuccoli” archaeological site exhibition and a beautiful mosaic floor with plant and animal elements.

A new feature in recent years are the improvements made to the Buca delle Fate archaeological park in Piano di Mommio. The route to the caves where archaeological remains from the mid-Palaeolithic and copper age were found includes a 800-metre uphill walk along a paved path before entering the forest.

In this area there are also ancient churches of artistic merit, such as San Pantaleone in Pieve a Elici, that of Bargecchia with the bells that are cited in Puccini’s Tosca and that of Corsanico, with the famous 17th-century organ and in which the International Festival of Classical Music is held every year. Also worthy of note are some villas which belonged to noblemen from Lucca, in particular Villa Paolina in Compignano.

Art and culture in Stazzema

Stazzema is closely linked to the historical events of Sant’Anna di Stazzema, where one of the darkest chapters of World War II was written. The Peace Park is today a reminder that what happened in 1944 must never happen again.

From the point of view of art, there is the beautiful church dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta located just outside Stazzema on the site of a Roman temple with its white marble façade, a beautiful rose window and the three ancient bells cast in the 16th century.

Art and culture in Forte dei Marmi

In Forte dei Marmi, inside the Fort, there is the Museum of Satire and Caricature, created in 1997 as a centre of the conservation, collection and study of all materials relating to the history of satire and caricature in the world. The museum displays the legacy of the Political Satire Prize, which has brought a large number of protagonists in the satire and humour sector from around the world to Forte dei Marmi since 1973. During this event prizes are awarded the best talent in the industry.

 In Vittoria Apuana, there is Villa Bertelli, a venue for exhibitions and concerts, and the memorial house of the sculptor Ugo Guidi, which houses a large part of his works and where there are often temporary exhibitions.