Michelangelo himself, the greatest sculptor of all time, recognised the beauty of the Carrara white marble extracted from the quarries around Pietrasanta: not only did Michelangelo use it for his own sculptures but he also worked in the marble quarries.
Michelangelo’s dream of building a road from the mountains made of marble, the Apuan Alps, to the sea, was never realised by himself. The ecstasy dissolved into agony.
In March 1520 the road whose construction Michelangelo was supervising was interrupted when Pope Leo X disengaged the great artist from the contract.
The road was later completed by order of Cosimo I Medici.
“The Gold of the Apuane”, the precious material, the white marble became legendary and gave rise to a great economic development of Pietrasanta and its entire region, Versilia.
From that time, Pietrasanta became renowned the world over for marble wotking and processing. Famous as well as emerging sculptors considered the Tuscan town as a centre for their activity and convened here.
In 1842 the School for Marble Artwork, which is still active today, was opened, and in a few years a great number of workshops flourished.
Pietrasanta Marble, Sculpture, Artist Laboratories
Today, Pietrasanta is rightly considered as the world’s capital of marble working. Many internationally renowned art schools and sculpture laboratories are here, where bronze craftsmanship is also widely practised.
Pietrasanta has more sculptors per square metre than any other place on earth.
Artists and sculptors are drawn to Pietrasanta from all over the world. In the town’s beautiful, elegant historic centre, their studios mingle with small boutiques of trendy designers, distinguished wine merchants and art galleries, smart shops and historic landmarks, wooden shutters and buildings with ochre and pink coloured facades in the deep, narrow alleyways that radiate from Piazza del Duomo.
Pietrasanta has been chosen as a candidate for “Italian Capital of Culture” for 2020, and this in a country, like Italy, which is certainly not short of cities of culture.
Among the artists who mostly contributed to the town’s planetary repute, apart from Michelangelo, and often settled here and worked alongside artisan masters of marble and bronze are Fernando Botero, the Colombian who, when he arrived in Pietrasanta, was the most famous and highly-paid painter-sculptor in the world, Henry Moore, Jean Hans Arp, Gio’ Pomodoro, Jacques Lipchitz, Joan Mirò, Gina Lollobrigida, Jean-Michel Folon, Pietro Cascella, Franco Adami, Girolamo Ciulla, Marcello Tommasi, Kan Yasuda, and many more.
2018 saw the inauguration of the Museum Mitoraj, the world temple of the sculpture of the Polish honorary citizen of Pietrasanta Igor Mitoraj, as well as the ongoing upgrading of the International Sculpture Park. The novelty of the International Sculpture Festival will see the light in 2020.
Sculptures of these world-renowned major sculptors dot the town’s public spaces, streets and squares. It all depends on whether you like contemporary “art” but it’s all done in good taste and, even if you’re not a fan of modern sculpture, there are still myriad real artistic treasures to see in Pietrasanta.
Marble characterises the most important buildings of the city, among which the Cathedral (Duomo) stands out.
Pietrasanta has many remarkable sites to visit, artistic landmarks, monuments, palaces, churches, galleries. Pietrasanta historic centre is a precious jewelry case of the Middle Ages, containing the splendid Piazza Duomo.