Umbrellas in Pietrasanta





 I knew I would love Pietrasanta as soon as the train pulled into the station. My train was crowded with holiday makers journeying to the Cinque Terra; my daughter and I were the only ones to alight.
One platform, two tracks. The land of Tuscany spreading around us.

Perfect.





I've always equated trains with holidays. I rarely catch trains (or any public transport) when I'm at home, for the service is simply shocking. Much easier to drive. Trains are for finding Assisi, being stranded somewhere unknown in Japan, or speeding away from Paris to find delights such as Bruges or ponder the paradox of time in Mont St. Michel.




Umbrellas, too, seem to be part of my recent travels. I never take one with me, yet I found them in a revolution in Hong Kong, and now hundreds of them hung above the streets of Pietrasanta, giving some welcome shade from the scorching summer sun.





Pietrasanta is a small Tuscan town, hidden from most tourists as the best places usually are. The old town is pedestrian only. Nearby are the marble hills of Carrara. Artists have been here since ancient times sourcing the marble.



Yet despite the weight of history, Pietrasanta is very much alive. Her artistic endeavours did not stop with Michelangelo, but instead still thrive. Not only do artisan shops abound, but locals live here, outnumbering the tourists. All promenading of an evening and fill the restaurants, the tables spilling over into the streets. Even the way shops and house are decorated is an artwork.



And then there were the umbrellas. Hundreds of them, hanging between the buildings. Each summer the town is filled with artistic displays (in an old cathedral I listened to La Boheme as I pondered paintings) but this exuberance of umbrellas was perhaps the most colourful of all. I shall have to return next year to see if they are outdone.



If planning a visit to Tuscany, may I suggest the blog My Travel in Tuscany


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