Why should you visit Pistoia?
Not just because it is my birthplace , of course!
( or maybe…. just for this ?)
not only because it is crowned Italy’s capital of culture in 2017
first of all for its geographic position in Italy
in the second century BC it was chosen by the Romans as a strategical basis between North & South : the Duomo square became in fact their “oppidum “or “market town ” where to stop & have a rest , eating & drinking to regain strength & then leaving to struggle towards new enemies
Florence is just 30km from here,Lucca & Pisa and the seaside on the Tyrrhenian sea just 40/50 minutes driving
Pistoia is easly reacheable from the two Tuscan airports ( Firenze & Pisa) & very well-connected by high-speed train with all the main towns in Italy
for its beautiful mountains
Abetone is a very renowned village where to go to sky in winter time & having long walking & trekking looking for blackberries & wild fruits in summer time & for mushrooms
only in five minutes driving from the city centre you can find hectares of olive groves and vineyards & beautiful landscapes & old forest full chestnuts trees & lovely villas
in Pistoia’s district , you can find one of the best spa of Europe, a natural grotto , where even Giuseppe Verdi enjoyed its beneficial effects , a very big swimming pool with thermal water & a relaxing massages spa
for its Green
yes, as Pistoia has been called “the city of green” for all its greenhouses & nurseries plants exported all over the world – tall trees as well as the best varieties of roses – to beautify prestigious villas gardens & parks in Europe & overseas
it has been an Etruscan city first ( dated back 600- 500 B.C. ) & Roman oppidum ( 2nd Century B.C.) and was a free Commune declared with the oldest statute of Italy dated 1117!
An archeological museum just located in the main square can show you Etruscan ruins & old tools from that Age
many beautiful old churches ( of different styles from Romanesque period to Baroque ) & the third biggest dome of Italy after Rome & Florence …old palaces and small squares and the De la Robbia school terracotta frieze just restored, simply magnificent, of our old Ospedale del Ceppo founded in 1277, where I was born some centruries after.
for its quiet , secure & relaxing atmosphere
Pistoia is very small , very cosy ….it will pamper you !
with a low level of crime my city will show you the real Italian lifestyle of a minor Tuscan place with its old narrow streets, but with a great heritage to share & to show you
in some of our Churches you can see & hear playing old organs as just Pistoia hosted a prestigious organs pipes’ producer starting from the 18th Century & still making cymbals & percussions for the most famous drummers & players in the world
for its hospitality
from chic four star hotels to characteristic b&b & famhouses or villas to rent , there is a huge choice: wine & extra virgin olive oil tastings are available by local wine estates or trying to becoome a real Tuscan chef just for a day with a cooking class in a traditional farmhouse.
for its museums
Marino Marini’s foundation , the only embroidery museum of Europe, the Pope’s Clemente IX palace Rospigliosi old palace ( yes, we even have had a Pope here born in 1600 !) palazzo Fabroni , modern art museum ,the archeological & the city hall to mention just few and the underground guided path that is the longest hypogeous of Europe just under the old Il Ceppo Hospital
Pistoia can be called “kids friendly ” for this zoo just few minutes from the city center & immersed in the green hills open all year round , in the nearby the Collodi hamlet hosts Pinocchio’s theme park & the butterflies park along with a historical magnificent Villa Garzoni’s garden
for its markets & shopping
since the Middle Age the Duomo square hosted the open air market: at the present two-time per week you can find in the same place of many centuries before, nice clothes & shoes and in the nearby “La Sala” small square ,a coloured market that offers vegetables & fruits everyday with lots of stores with many delicatessen for foodies
the biggest library in Tuscany is the San Giorgio one, in a modern setting, just near the train station
an old one , the Forteguerriana founded in 1473 , with precious old books located in a beautiful historical palace just in the heart of the city and another called Friendship library open in a private historical cafè
believe or not in this small town we have a GREAT movida especially in the week-end in the Sala square : it is so full of small cafès, bistrots, wine bars, trattorie,restaurants that hundreds of young ( and not only young ) people love to eat & walk here as in a movable feast as Hemingway wrote about Paris..Pistoia is not the capital of France ,of course , but I think you will enjoy the spirit you can smell in the air