Pistoia is a charming medieval city located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. While it may not be as famous as its neighboring cities such as Florence, Siena, and Pisa, Pistoia offers visitors a unique blend of art, history, and culture. From stunning churches and museums to beautiful countryside and delicious food and wine, there’s something for everyone in Pistoia.
In this article, we’ll explore the 14 best things to do in Pistoia, starting with the city’s central square, Piazza del Duomo, and its stunning cathedral and baptistery. We’ll also visit some of the city’s hidden gems, including the Ospedale del Ceppo and the underground tunnels that were used for various purposes over the centuries.
For those who love art, Pistoia has plenty to offer, with museums and churches housing works by some of Italy’s most famous artists, including Andrea del Verrocchio and Jacopo Chimenti. And for families with kids, Pistoia is home to a zoo and a theme park based on the famous story of Pinocchio.
But Pistoia isn’t just about art and history. Visitors can also explore the beautiful Tuscan countryside, with its rolling hills and vineyards, and enjoy a wine tasting or a delicious meal of traditional Tuscan dishes.
Join us as we take a journey through the 14 best things to do in Pistoia and discover why this hidden gem of Tuscany should be on your list of must-visit destinations.
Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is the central square in Pistoia’s historic center, and it’s a must-visit spot for anyone visiting the city. This beautiful square is surrounded by some of Pistoia’s most famous buildings, including the Pistoia Cathedral, the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte, and the Palazzo dei Vescovi.
In addition to the stunning architecture, Piazza del Duomo is also a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounding the square, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee or a meal while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Pistoia Cathedral is a stunning Romanesque church located in the center of Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral’s construction began in the 11th century and continued for over 400 years. The cathedral is known for its beautiful façade and intricate carvings.
Inside the cathedral, visitors can see works by some of Italy’s most famous artists, including the frescoes by Andrea del Verrocchio in the Chapel of the Sacrament. The cathedral is also home to the famous silver altar, which was created by the goldsmith Goro di Gregorio in the 13th century.
Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte
The Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte is a beautiful octagonal-shaped building located on Piazza del Duomo. The baptistery dates back to the 12th century and is famous for its stunning marble facade and beautiful frescoes.
The frescoes inside the baptistery depict scenes from the life of St. John the Baptist, as well as scenes from the Old Testament. The baptistery is also home to a beautiful baptismal font made from Carrara marble.
Ospedale del Ceppo
Ospedale del Ceppo is a beautiful Renaissance-style building located in the historic center of Pistoia. The hospital was founded in the 13th century and is famous for its stunning façade decorated with colorful ceramic tiles.
Inside the hospital, visitors can see a collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by some of Italy’s most famous artists, such as Giovanni della Robbia and Lorenzo Bartolini. The hospital is also home to a beautiful courtyard and a pharmacy museum, which houses a collection of ancient medicinal herbs and equipment.
Pistoia Underground is a network of tunnels and underground spaces that were used for various purposes over the centuries, including as a shelter during World War II. Visitors can take a guided tour of the underground spaces and learn about their history.
The tour includes visits to the ancient Roman cisterns, the medieval cellars, and the World War II shelter. Visitors can also see some of the original tools and machinery used to dig the tunnels.
Palazzo dei Vescovi
Palazzo dei Vescovi is a beautiful palace located on Piazza del Duomo. The palace was built in the 14th century and is famous for its stunning façade and beautiful courtyard.
The palace was originally the residence of the bishops of Pistoia, but today it is home to the Museum of the Cathedral. The museum houses a collection of art and artifacts from the cathedral’s history, including paintings, sculptures, and religious vestments.
Museo Civico is a museum located in the historic center of Pistoia. The museum houses a collection of art and artifacts from the city’s history, including sculptures, paintings, and ceramics.
San Giovanni Fuorcivitas
San Giovanni Fuorcivitas is a beautiful Romanesque church located outside the city walls of Pistoia. The church dates back to the 11th century and is famous for its stunning façade and beautiful cloister.
Inside the church, visitors can see beautiful frescoes and sculptures, including a wooden crucifix by the famous sculptor Giovanni Pisano. The church is also home to a beautiful cloister with a garden that offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
San Bartolomeo in Pantano
San Bartolomeo in Pantano is another beautiful Romanesque church located in Pistoia. The church dates back to the 11th century and is famous for its beautiful frescoes and stunning façade.
Inside the church, visitors can see beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St. Bartholomew. The church is also home to a beautiful wooden crucifix, as well as a marble baptismal font.
San Giovanni Battista
San Giovanni Battista is a beautiful Baroque-style church located in the historic center of Pistoia. The church dates back to the 16th century and is famous for its beautiful frescoes and stunning interior.
Inside the church, visitors can see beautiful frescoes by the famous painter Jacopo Chimenti, as well as a beautiful marble altar. The church is also home to a beautiful organ with more than 2,000 pipes.
Pistoia Zoo is a great place to visit for families with kids. The zoo is home to a variety of animals, including giraffes, elephants, lions, and tigers. Visitors can also take a train ride around the zoo and enjoy a picnic in the beautiful park.
The zoo is also home to a number of interactive exhibits and educational programs, making it a great place to learn about wildlife conservation and animal behavior.
Parco di Pinocchio
Parco di Pinocchio is a theme park based on the famous Italian story of Pinocchio. The park is located in Collodi, a small village near Pistoia, and features beautiful gardens, playgrounds, and attractions based on the story of Pinocchio.
Visitors to the park can see a variety of attractions, including a giant statue of Pinocchio, a labyrinth, and a puppet show. The park is a great place to visit for families with kids, as well as anyone who loves the story of Pinocchio.
The Tuscany Countryside
The Tuscany countryside is famous for its beautiful landscapes, rolling hills, and vineyards. Visitors to Pistoia can take a day trip to explore the nearby countryside, including the Chianti wine region and the medieval town of San Gimignano.
A drive through the Tuscan countryside is an experience in itself, with beautiful scenery at every turn. Visitors can also visit local wineries to taste some of Tuscany’s famous wines, including Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.
Food and Wine Tasting
Tuscany is famous for its delicious food and wine, and Pistoia is no exception. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local dishes, including pasta, pizza, and grilled meats, as well as delicious wines such as Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.
There are plenty of restaurants and wine bars in Pistoia where visitors can enjoy a meal or a wine tasting. Many of these establishments feature local ingredients and traditional Tuscan recipes, making them the perfect place to experience the flavors of the region.
Pistoia is a hidden gem in Tuscany, Italy, with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning countryside. Visitors can explore the city’s beautiful churches and museums, take a tour of the underground tunnels, and enjoy the local food and wine. A day trip to the nearby countryside is also a must-do activity for those who want to experience the beauty of Tuscany.
What is the best time to visit Pistoia?
The best time to visit Pistoia is in the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.
Is Pistoia worth visiting?
Yes, Pistoia is definitely worth visiting. It’s a beautiful medieval city with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning countryside.
How do I get to Pistoia?
Pistoia is located in the Tuscany region of Italy and can be easily reached by train or car from Florence, Pisa, and other nearby cities.
What are some local dishes to try in Pistoia?
Some local dishes to try in Pistoia include pasta with wild boar ragù, grilled meats, and the traditional Tuscan soup ribollita.
Can I take a day trip to the countryside from Pistoia?
Yes, visitors to Pistoia can take a day trip to the nearby Tuscany countryside, including the Chianti wine region and the medieval town of San Gimignano.