Discovering Pistoia: A Guide for the Curious Tourist

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If you are planning your first visit to Pistoia, look no further than this article! This charming Tuscan city, located between Florence and Lucca, offers a unique combination of history, culture, and natural beauty that will make your experience unforgettable.

A Trip Back in Time

Start your journey by exploring the historic center of Pistoia: Piazza del Duomo. Here, you will be surrounded by some of the city’s most important monuments including the Cathedral of San Zeno, with its imposing Romanesque façade, and the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte, a masterpiece of Romanesque-Gothic style.


Take a walk along the narrow medieval streets to discover the charm of Pistoia, with its picturesque squares and colorful facades. One of the oldest streets in Pistoia and an absolute must is Via degli Orafi which continues to be one of the most important streets in the city with several Art Nouveau buildings.

Artistic Masterpieces

Pistoia is full of extraordinary works of art and fascinating museums. Depending on the time you’ve allotted in the city, we recommend visiting at least one of the Civic Museums (the Civic Museum of Ancient Art, the Spedale del Ceppo Museum, and the Museum of the Twentieth Century and the Contemporary). You’ll find a vast collection of paintings, sculptures and artifacts that tell the story of the city’s rich history.

Visit the official website at Musei Civici di Pistoia.

Don’t forget to explore the Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, where you will find the masterpiece the Visitazione, a work in glazed terracotta, attributed to Luca Della Robbia.

A Unique Experience

For an unforgettable experience of the city from another point of view, go underground! The guided tour for Pistoia Sotterranea starts from the Spedale Museum and continues along the old Brana riverbed and alongside the ancient city walls.

More details on the city’s official website.


Tuscan Food & Drink

A trip to Tuscany would not be complete without savoring the delicious local cuisine. Pistoia is no exception! We suggest Piazza della Sala, a point of reference and trading center since the time of the Lombard occupation. You will have ample choices among the numerous shops, restaurants, bars, and pubs for a lunch break, an aperitif, or dinner where you can enjoy dishes such as ribollita, pappa al pomodoro or truffle tagliolini. Don’t forget to accompany the meal with a glass of Tuscan wine such as Chianti or Nobile di Montepulciano.

Outdoor Spaces

After an intense morning, take some time to relax in the Gardens of Piazza della Resistenza. This lovely green space offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can sit back and relax while admiring the fountains and sculptures that decorate the park. It is also an ideal place for a picnic or coffee break.

And one of the most famous places in Pistoia is definitely the zoo! The Zoological Garden of Pistoia represents one of the most important zoos in Italy both in terms of size and educational activities and for its work in animal conservation. The zoo is open every day.

Events and Traditions

Pistoia hosts numerous cultural and traditional events throughout the year. Certainly, the most well-known and historic one is the iconic Giostra dell’Orso, a competition between the city’s neighborhoods every 25th of July. For over 700 years San Jacopo, the patron saint of the city, has been celebrated with parades, processions, and the inevitable competition between knights on horseback.

For more than 30 years, every summer the Pistoia Blues Festival has been one of the most important musical events in Italy, bringing big names in music such as Lou Reed and Pearl Jam.

pistoia-piazza duomo

Pistoia is one of Tuscany’s hidden gems, rich in history, art, and culture. By exploring its ancient alleys, appreciating the works of art, and tasting its traditional dishes, you will find a city with a unique charm that will surely win your heart.

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