In the heart of medieval Lucca, the museum and archaeological complex of the Cathedral of Lucca is a prestigious architectural and artistic testimony that shows the combination of Romanesque and Gothic, enriched in the fifteenth century by the harmony of Renaissance architecture.
The Cathedral is attested since the eighth century for the wooden statue of the Holy Face, one of the most venerated relics of the Middle Ages, then embellished over the centuries by works of art such as the Last Supper by Tintoretto, the funeral monument of Ilaria del Carretto , precious fabrics and refined goldsmiths
Not far from another millenary Cathedral, that of Barga, is the Antonio Mordini Civic Museum, located in the fourteenth-century Palazzo Pretorio, the ancient seat of the city magistrates. The interior rooms, complete with ancient frescoes, trace the events of the area, from prehistoric to more recent times, through the exhibition of artifacts, works of art and didactic reconstructions.
The rooms that house the museum preserve both fossils from different prehistoric eras and archaeological artefacts, as well as examples of sculpture and goldsmithing, sacred furnishings, objects of worship and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era. End the experience with a visit to the ancient prisons.
The itinerary continues with museums more linked to the contemporary era in the Versilia area. The Pierluigi Gherardi Museum of Sketches in Pietrasanta, located in the sixteenth-century former convent of Sant’Agostino, documents and collects models and works by leading sculptors who come from all over the world to create their works in the artisan workshops of Pietrasanta.
Along the coast, in the city of Viareggio, is the Villa Museo Paolina Bonaparte, in the historic residence built by Napoleon's sister. This is home to the Prehistoric and Archaeological Museum and the Alberto Carlo Blanc Museum of Man, the Giovanni Ciuffreda Museum of Musical Instruments and the studio used for more than 50 years by the Viareggio painter Alfredo Catarsini.
Another painter from Viareggio, Lorenzo Viani, is the protagonist of the Municipal Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art named after him. The permanent collection of the GAMC is made up of about 3,000 works coming mostly from private donations. The original nucleus was established in 1979 with the purchase by the Municipality of 50 works by Lorenzo Viani, which today, together with others acquired or donated, constitutes the most important public collection of works by the Maestro, an original exponent of the European Expressionism.
The museum located inside the Citadel of Carnival is dedicated to a purely Viareggio art, that of Carnival. In this place the laboratories of the tankers, the hangars where the wagons are built and kept, the Museum and a historical documentary centre are gathered.
The Carnival Museum is made up of the historical collection of allegorical constructs preserved in hangar number 16, divided into thematic areas: satire, science fiction, bureaucracy and space for children. The exhibition is increased every year with the latest creations of each Carnival.