Pistoia extends on a plain surrounded by the peaks of the Pistoiese mountains and the soft hills of the Valdinievole and Montalbano. Established in the 2nd century B.C. to support the Roman troops fighting against the Ligurian, Pistoia was promoted to a province in 1927 by Benito Mussolini and now has more than 89,000 inhabitants.
The city is particularly rich in precious Romanesque and Renaissance monuments and boasts one of the most charming piazzas in Italy, Piazza Duomo, which represents the civil and ecclesiastical center as well as being the city’s geometric center. The area’s most important historic buildings are indeed situated in this large space: the cathedral of San Zeno, which contains the silver altar of San Jacopo; the Romanesque style bell tower, which was built on an old tower of Longobard origin, that reaches a total height of 67 metres, the 14th century baptistery of San Giovanni in a Gothic style; the Palazzo dei Vescovi whose undergrounds are embellished with an important archaeological passage with on-site excavations of an Etruscan Fiesole-type stone, a Roman furnace and stretches of the walls of the ancient city; the Palazzo Pretorio of the court also in Gothic style, which is famous for its inner courtyard with the coats-of-arms of the magistrates; the Palazzo del Comune with a beautiful, ornate facade of mullioned windows with two and three lights; the former church of Santa Maria Cavaliera; and finally the high medieval tower of Catilina, which is 30 metres high.
But it’s not only Piazza Duomo. The city hides other rare artistic treasures in the narrow streets of its historic centre, starting with the church of Sant’Andrea, which dates back to the 8th century and takes care of the famous “pulpit of Sant’Andrea” by Giovanni Pisano. There is also the basilica of the Madonna dell’Umiltà whose architectural importance is due to the 16th century dome built by Giorgio Vasari and 59 metres high. There is also the church of San Giovanni Evangelista, called Fuorcivitas, and the church of San Bartolomeo in Pantano, named after the swampy nature of the place where it was erected.
This is one of the many churches dedicated to the apostles that the Longobards decided to build around the city after the conversion to Catholicism.
The city’s main event is the Pistoia July Festival where lots of cultural events are planned during the entire month as the celebration on the 25th July of the Patron Saint’s Day and Pistoia Blues, the most important international event of blues music in Europe.
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