View of the Piazza Duomo in Pietrasanta during the exhibition “Pietrasanta Sculptures and Sculptors,” 2002. Courtesy Assessorato Alla Cultura, Pietrasanta, Italy.

Pietrasanta: The View from the Outside

To say that Pietrasanta resembles the Vatican sounds—and indeed is—absurd. But consider this: Pietrasanta, like the Vatican, is a small community that stands at a distinct remove from the rest of the world. Yet Pietrasanta is—again like the Vatican—the center of an empire that spans every continent of the globe. Its faithful belong to a hundred different cultures, speak any number of different languages, and believe in a great variety of political tendencies. What unites the disparity of those who belong to the empire of the Vatican is religious faith. What unites the citizens of Pietrasanta’s realm is their shared belief in a range of values and ideals that are best—sometimes even exclusively—expressed by the art of sculpture. Pilgrimage to the Vatican is desired by all Catholics. Pilgrimage to Pietrasanta is the ardent hope of all who find in sculpture the center of their lives, be they creators of sculpture, historians, collectors, critics, or interpreters of this venerable art.