Pistoia – City of Worry And Improbable Names

Via Abbia Pazienza“La città dei crucci” (=The city of Worries) is a definition which derives from the Poem Pistoia written by Gabriele D’Annunzio in his works “Le città del silenzio” (=The cities of Silence). However, the association between “worries” and Pistoia is to be granted to Dante Alighieri in the canto dedicated to the most famous townsman of Pistoia in his Inferno: Vanni Fucci ….. who created his hiding haven in this town.

Pistoia, one of the most fascinating cities of Tuscany, city of murky sentiments and disagreements?

The American Historian William J. Connell writes in his The city of Worries that during the entire Middle Ages and in the following centuries, the Pistoiesi honored the tradition that their roots were to found in the descendants of Catilina, a Roman Politician who was mean and corrupt and whose troops were conquered in a battle near Pistoia in 62 B.C.

The idea that Pistoia is a city with factious spirits was consolidated in the Middle Ages due to the fights between the Panciatichi and Cancellieri Families whose feuds protracted for almost three centuries and finally terminated in a civil war from 1499 to 1502 in which the town was almost annihilated.

But where did these bloody battles take place in this splendid city? Surely one of the symbolic points of this feud is Palazzo Panciatichi in the central Via Cavour, and towards the east between the Church of San Pier Maggiore, San Bartolomeo, the Palazzo dei Cancellieri and the Church of San Paolo.

The Church of San Paolo in particular, not only represents one of the best Sacred Architectural Monuments of the Middle Ages, but was also transformed by the Panciatichi Family in a fort during the battles in the summer of 1500 and is sadly known in history as the place where at the conclusion of the battles, the Cancellieri members literally threw their adversaries from the bell tower that rises on the side of the Church.

The extravagant toponymy

Some corners of Pistoia still echo with the battles that raged here. The story of via del Can Bianco (=the story of the lane of the white dog), for example, is tied to the Cancellieri Family who had property in this part of the city. The townsmen say that one night the citizens of this area were awakened by the barking of a dog that had smelled the enemy getting close to attack the dwellers of this neighborhood. Thanks to the warning of the dog, the townsmen were able to go into the streets and thwart the plan of the aggressors.

Near “Canto dei Rossi” you will find a path that has the name “Abbi Pazienza” (=forgive me) and seems to have gotten its name from a strange bloody event that dates back to the feuds.

Legend tells that a man, hidden in the shadows, was awaiting an enemy to assault him when an innocent passerby crossed his path. The innocent man was assaulted and came close to death when the assaulter realized his mistake, he said “Abbi Pazienza”! (= forgive me!)

Caterina Pomini from InYourTuscany

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