Postcard from Pietrasanta

POSTCARD FROM MARTINCOONEY.COM

Postcard from Pietrasanta

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

If there exists a more picturesque, people-friendly and historic central square in the whole of Tuscany – or the whole of Italy, or anywhere else for that matter, it yet awaits my discovery.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

With its abundance of fine restaurants, galleries, shops, museums, churches, medieval walls and historical attractions luring visitors from far and wide the square always seemed very, very Italian to me.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

The spacious pedestrian square seemed to imbue in its younger inhabitants an infectious energy that was mirrored in their parents by an equally relaxed, playful demeanor. In old fashioned parlance the square appeared to project ‘a good vibe’ on each of the many occasions I wiled away some quality espresso time indulging in, as was everyone,  some top rate people-watching.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

A pair of long, straight commercial avenues dissect the town, with the square at dead center – like the horizontal bar in a capital H. The feel good vibe of the square flows along and through these ribbons of commerce as people bump into friends, gaze into windows, and hungrily devour a host of enticing restaurant menus.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

With so much to offer the visitor I suppose Pietrasanta’s petite market can very well be viewed in context to its proximity to the many magnificent Tuscan farmer’s markets in the nearby towns and villages, and in particular the weekly extravaganza that fills the entire ancient walled market town of Camaiore, just minutes down-the-road by car.  But while certain aspects of customer service can admittedly at times appear a tad brisk when first encountered, over the month or so I based myself here during last summer’s  Three Month Italian Odyssey  I grew to recognize and respect the deeply profound sense of pride that Pietrasantans openly display for their culture.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

The square however was not the only, or even perhaps the best place to bask in the Italianess of it all. I chose this little cafe mainly for its delectable pastries and exquisite coffee, but it did no harm that I could look up and see exactly who was doing precisely the same thing in the very same spot some 100 plus years previously.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

Pietrasanta plays host to a wealth of sculpture but for me their amazing marble war memorial convincingly stole the show.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

I have no idea if these are the remains of shots fired in anger, or a quite brilliant stroke of conceptual genius by the sculptor, but they certainly serve to underscore the brutal, random, senseless nature of human conflict.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

Seldom if ever have I encountered war memorials such as those I witnessed in northwestern Tuscany. Compounded by long-standing political tensions atrocities were committed during the latter stages of WWII that quite beggar belief, with reprisals carried out that saw generations of families decimated. Consequently the wounds are still quite sore in the region and I thought it perhaps best not to dig too deeply into the matters concerning events gone by.

I was however quite fascinated by this female figure forlornly gazing at the sky as if expecting her immanent doom. Believe me, nothing about this magnificent sculpture would have been left to chance, which is why I was drawn to the oddly symmetrical tunnel seemingly propped between feet curled in fear. Were the people forced to live underground? Or is the artist depicting the miserable conditions in which the thousands of slave laborers were forced to dig the formidable tunnels and fortifications of Hitler’s enormous Gothic Line of defense ? Not that I suppose it matters. This to my mind is one of the most savage and impressive condemnations of war I have ever seen.

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

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Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

But really, and I mean really, NO trip to Pietrasanta could be complete without allowing plenty of time to kick back and enjoy dallying with Pietrasanta’s most interesting set at the unequaled Bar Avio. Tell Stephano Martin sent you and if you’re good he may just whip up one of his incredible cocktail creations for you.

Yes… just for you!

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

Stephano, the World’s Greatest Bartender, serves up more than delectable food and drink at Bar Avio, the World’s Best Bar. Prepare yourself to be entertained…!

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~ ~ ~Da Pio B&B, Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

Maria, Da Pio B&B, Pietrasanta, ItalyBut I cannot end this postcard without a glowing, almost gushing account of my stay at the wonderful Da Pio Guest House. If a spotless room and sumptuous beds at a reasonable price… along with comfortable furniture, spacious grounds, gourmet breakfast and delicious homemade cakes, treats and assorted goodies sounds good to you then you are quite simply going to love this place.

Nothing seems too much trouble as Maria assists her guests to get the very most from their stay by providing one of the most impressive concierge services I have ever witnessed. Fluent in French and English Maria always struck me as devoted to her guests and I’m sure she’ll take very good care of you if you were to book a room for a week or two in her families’ fine establishment.

Da Pio is perfectly situated for widespread, leisurely and uncongested exploration of the entire northwestern corner of Tuscany, including nearby Pisa, Lucca, Cararra, Cinque Terre, Pontremoli and a host of fascinating and uncrowded cities and sights around the region.

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Da Pio B&B, Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

Thanks for stopping by,

Until next time,

Cheerio

Postcard From Pietrasanta. Snapped by MARTIN COONEY

Martin

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