As you might anticipate, in Pietrasanta they don't build sandcastles at the beach, they do sand sculptures! And, of course, it's a competition. Neil was asked to take part, but couldn't fit it in this year because of a previous commitment, but we did go down during the afternoon to see what was going on. The beach at Pietrasanta Marina is an arc of volcanic Mediterranean sand with the marble mountains of the Alpe Apuane as a spectacular backdrop.
Near the edge of the sea, whole families were helping mothers and fathers to create works of art in the damp sand, just out of reach of the waves, to last as long as the tide allowed. One English sculptor had dug two long, diverging trenches which acted as an optical illusion when viewed through a hole in a piece of wood. Next to it there was a giant scarab beetle.
Further along a Polish/Danish bunch of grapes, a German abstract based on the internal structure of a shell, and an Italian sea-monster dragging its victim back into a hole.
Another abstract consisted of seven circles dug into an area of sand, which was patterned with a rake. A single set of child's footprints ran diagonally across - which looked good but was entirely accidental! One sculptor had dug down into the sand to create the interior of a basilica roof - very intricate and difficult.
It all looked great fun and I hope that next year I'll be there, bucket and spade in hand, as the sculptor's apprentice.