The City & its Region
Pistoia can be a real surprise. A city proud of its history that will fully unveil to all the ones who want something more than just “passing by”. And it is definitely worth it. You will discover a city rich in colors, tastes and treasures: from the architecture, to the typical dishes as well as its inhabitants everything has character.
Around Piazza Duomo, which is rightly considered one of the most beautiful Italian squares, there is a city full of revelations.
Here you can find Saint Zeno Cathedral, a Romanesque church with a silver altar dedicated to the city’s patron saint, San Jacopo.In front of the cathedral there is the Baptistery, characterized by the typical white and green striped marble cover on its walls.Then, you cannot miss Palazzo del Comune (the city hall), Palazzo Vescovi (the bishop’s residence), Torre di Catilina (one of the last medieval tower-houses of the city).In San Giovanni Church, called “Fuorcivitas” from the Latin because used to be outside the city walls, you can admire the Visitation, a white tin-glazed terracotta by Luca della Robbia, who was a famous medieval sculptor specialized in majolica (a type of ceramic). His works can also be found on the façade of Pistoia’s old hospital, “Ospedale del Ceppo”.
Pistoia is not only a historic city, it is also home of many different types of tourism: from mountain, to thermal, congress and even green tourism (Pistoia is also called the city of nurseries) and of course wine and food tours.Among ancient churches, palaces and museums you can still find artisan shops, many typical small shops and restaurants where you can taste local food and buy handcrafted products.
The city has a strong tradition and its inhabitants live it with pride and participation. The most important event is Pistoia’s Palio called “Joust of the Bear”.
On the 25th July the entire city stops and plunges back to the year 1200 for a rendering of the traditional medieval horse race in honor of the city’s Patron San Jacopo. During the morning an outdoor parade takes place, where people are dressed with the beautiful traditional clothing and in the evening in Piazza Duomo the four districts of the city, each represented by two jockeys, compete to win this exciting contest.
Pistoia is also famous for the Zoo . The Zoological Gardens of Pistoia is a 7-hectares zoo with more than 400 animals and is in continuous expansion. In a captivating world you will get to know the animals, the different ways to protect them, and you will learn how to respect the planet.Thanks to its size and importance of its educational and conservation activities, this park has become one of the main zoological institutions in Italy. For the little ones not to miss in the area also the Pinocchio Park in Collodi .In the park you can relive the emotions and events of the Italian book most beloved and well-known in the world, to discover the curiosity to read or reread, and why not, the pleasure of good literature for children and for adults.
Pistoia is also a synonym of great music: at the end of July the city is filled with the notes of the Blues Festival, framed by the beautiful scenery of the Dome square: after more than 30 years of success this popular event has brought to Pistoia world famous artists like BB King, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Patti Smith and many others.For three days the city turns into the meeting point of many different international cultures, thousands of people join this great event and sounds and colors suffuse the streets of the town center.Not everybody knows that Pistoia, thanks to its Chocolate makers of international fame, is also part of the so-called Chocolate Valley, together with Florence and Pisa.
Where to go to do some delicious shopping:
– in Monsummano Terme: Andrea Slitti
– in Pistoia, in the city center: Corsini shop
– in Agliana: Roberto Catinari
– in Prato: Luca Mannori
– in Florence and Pisa: De Bondt
– in Florence: 3c di Pistocchi
– in Pontedera: Amadei