VIS and the town Versilia Italian School is located in the centre of Pietrasanta, a charming old town full of history with its monuments, art galleries, typical shops and fashionable boutiques. Pietrasanta is always frequented by local people, Italians and foreigners. Our position is just perfect as you can easily reach it: a few minutes from the train and the central bus station and from the main roads. It is also a perfect starting point for nice and pleasant walks in the town and its surroundings. VIS is located in a old XIXth century building, in Piazza Crispi, in front of a big parking and just at the beginning of the main pedestrian street that leads right to the famous Duomo Square, where you can admire its beautiful cathedral, the cloister of Sant’Agostino famous bars always hanged out by tourists, local people and artists.
From our windows you can enjoy the wonderful view on the “Rocca di Sala”, the ancient fortress, where the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero lives during the summer, in a lovely villa almost hidden among olive and orange trees.
The marble tradition
VIS’ method is based on teaching Italian in real situations: the oral and concrete communication can lead our student to learn the language and meet the local culture: our teachers teach “open air lessons”, they usually take the students around the town and the surrounding area in order to let them practice in real and everyday situations; in the meanwhile the student can visit the famous workshops where the artisans craft marble in a special style, authentic and typical of Pietrasanta, which is for this reason, called “Piccola Atene”. The town is indeed famous all over the world because of its marble art studios, the “fonderie” (foundry studios) and the mosaics art. Fortunately there are still many professional artisans and Italian or foreigners trainees, who dedicate their life to this precious job. Many studios and workshops are still in the town centre, they make statues, ornaments and decorations, requested by all the countries in the world. Michelangelo stopped in Pietrasanta to choose the marble to finish the facade of San Lorenzo church in Florence. The narrow streets in the town centre are full of art galleries showing Italian and foreigners exhibitions both of national and international fame. Pietrasanta appears as an open-work museum and everywhere you go you can admire and be attracted by statues, paintings giften to the town; the main square (Piazza del Duomo) hosts all around the year unique exhibitions often made up with original and bizarre lighting. Some of VIS’ students are indeed those artists who come around Pietrasanta for a few months to learn and improve the marble thechinques and in the meanwhile to learn or improve their Italian.
The surroundings Pietarsanta is just 3 Km far from the sea and from the famous beaches in Versilia; our beautiful hills are not distant at all, they hide Roman ruins and striking glimpses, the mountains, the Apuane Alps, the lake dear to the great composer Giacomo Puccini and the Parco di Migliarino – San Rossore – Massaciuccoli, a wild reserve to visit. The town, together with Forte dei Marmi, is also known as a fashionable place, above all in the summer for shopping and for the night clubs and discos open all night long. Not very far from Pietrasanta, there is Carrara, famous for its marble quarries that can be visited and Colonnata, just above Carrara, a small village where lard, famous all around the world, is produced. Few kilometres far from Versilia, there are famous Tuscan art cities such as Lucca, Pisa, Florence and the Chianti valley, famous for its red wine. On the other side you can also reach the Ligurian coast and easily reach the Cinque Terre in half an hour by train.
The gastronomy Versilia is also known to be the place of the “hearthy eater”; the territory offers fish and meat dishes thanks to the variety of the land; it follows the Tuscan traditions but it differs since Versilia has also got its own local traditions with recipes that belong only to these places. The tasty and fresh fish of our coast and the salumi (cold cuts) of the Camaiore hinterland, the typical sweet and savoury cakes, the "tordello", the main subject of the local summer festivals (“sagre”). Then the oil of Massarosa, the honey taken from our parks and much more. There are also good refined restaurants or country style and in Pietrasanta you are just spoilt for choice!