Pistoia

Italy

Pistoia is a truly picturesque city and has a host of wonderful historical buildings such as the gorgeous Duomo and its Baptistery and the Palazzo del Comune. 

Pistoia is a city and comune in the Italian region of Tuscany, the capital of a province of the same name, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) west and north of Florence and is crossed by the Ombrone Pistoiese, a tributary of the River Arno. It is a typical Italian medieval city, and it attracts many tourists, especially in the summer. The city is famous throughout Europe for its plant nurseries.

HIGLIGHTS

Although less visited than other cities in Tuscany, the medieval city within Pistoia’s old walls is charming and well-preserved. Pistoia is a beautiful city in the heart of the Tuscany region of Italy that lies in close proximity to Florence and Pisa. The city has a current population of 90,000 and is a popular summer destination for both tourists and Italians who come to admire its stunning medieval architecture. During ancient times, this city was settled by the Etruscans and then became a Roman colony. During the wars between the Guelph’s and the Ghibellines Pistoia changed hands several times and was mainly under Florentine control. This city is also known for being the birthplace of the pistol firearm, and it is said that this form of handgun was first created here during the 16th century.

Piazza del Duomo

The large Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the cathedral, is lined with other medieval buildings, such as the Palazzo del Comune and the Palazzo del Podestà: it is the setting (in July) of the Giostra dell’Orso (“Bear Joust”), when the best horsemen of the city’s traditional quarters tilt with lances at a target held up by a dummy shaped like a bear.

The original Cathedral of San Zeno (5th century) burned down in 1108, but was rebuilt during the 12th century, and received incremental improvements until the 17th century. The façade has a prominent Romanesque style, while the interior received heavy Baroque additions which were removed during the 1960s. Its outstanding feature is the Altar of St James, an exemplar of the silversmith‘s craft begun in 1287 but not finished until the 15th century. Its various sections contain 628 figures, the total weighing nearly a ton. The Romanesque belfry, standing at some 67 metres (220 ft), was erected over an ancient Lombard tower.

In the square is also the 14th-century Baptistry, in Gothic style, with white and green striped marble revetment characteristic of the Tuscan Gothic.

The Palazzo dei Vescovi (“Bishops’ Palace”), is characterized by a Gothic loggiato on the first floor. It is known from 1091, initially as a fortified noble residence. In the 12th century it received a more decorated appearance, with mullioned windows and frescoes, of which traces remain. It was later modified in the mid-12th century (when the St. James Chapel, mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the XXIV canto of his Inferno) and in the 13th century; to the latter restoration belongs the white marble-decorated staircase, one of the most ancient examples in Italy in civil architecture. In the 14th century, the Chapel of St. Nicholas was decorated with stories of the namesake saint and other martyrs.

The Tower of Catilina dates to the High Middle Ages, and stands 30 metres (98 ft) high.

Religious buildings

Others

Contact

Municipality of Pistoia
email
info@comune.pistoia.it
address
Piazza del Duomo, 1 51100, Pistoia
phone
800-012146