But, does all art have to be from the rather distant past? What if you could, for a few days, dwell among artists battering pieces of marble in dusty workspaces? What if every day you had your coffee among the outpourings of these dedicated artists? What if you walked into the community library and were confronted by what appeared to be a loose confederacy of marble ghosts dancing awkwardly?
Then, upon thinking you might stay a while to enjoy the ambiance, you seek out an ATM machine that is kind to your American debit card and happen to pass this fellow at a busy intersection.
Imagine being surrounded by the alternative universes that art brings to the forefront of your consciousness, from ravishing beauty to the beasts seeming to ooze out of the night of the living dead.
So you long for a name, do you? We’re in Pietrasanta, home to sculptors and their whizzing power tools, mosaic artists, Botero’s women, and folks who’ve dropped into the library only to get lost among the statues in the windows.
So you take a few days, maybe a week, in a little apartment in Pietrasanta. Make sure it’s a bit small. You want to fit into the starving artist mold. You want to feel slightly uncomfortable, like art makes you feel when it’s really good. You don’t have to actually starve, the restaurants in Pietrasanta are quite fine. But maybe towards the end of your stay, you begin feeling your oats. You want to escape. You still want to see art, but a different kind, and still—not too old.
So you hop the train heading to Viareggio. It’s a resort city on the Versilia coast. Bring a bathing suit if that floats your boat. What shall you seek? Italy’s famous Liberty architecture, which could only make inroads along the coast, where there were few Medieval villages to be kept intact for the tourists enamored with them. In Viareggio you have money and you have flat ground and whimsy is everywhere, so it’s not so hard to adhere to an architectural style all your own. Viareggio is the place to go for lots of Liberty and a plethora of Italian bathing establishments. Gawk on your way to the beach.
But don’t think of this as a “stand outside in the street and hope you don’t get smashed by a car” kind of experience. Go in. Be immersed in the quiet. Remember the quiet? Remember how it felt? I know noise is all the rage in drinking establishments in these roiling times, but if you think you belong here, go for it. Get to a watering hole early. Enjoy the glass.
Notable Villas in Liberty Style
Villa Amore was the first of several Liberty-style villas that were built in the countryside in the early 1900s. Viareggio later developed around them.
Villino Flore was built in 1912.
You’ll find Pucinni’s last villa on Via Belluomini, around the corner from Grand Hotel Principe del Piemonte, also constructed in Liberty style and a place we recommend staying.
A train between Pietrasanta and Viareggio takes all of 6 minutes.
If you’re really enamored with Liberty Style or finding artists in Pietrasanta, you might need a good guide to get you to all the hidden wonders of these art towns. We recommend Serena Giovannoni who is a travel consultant who runs Wishversilia.