The town of Pistoia

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The town of Pistoia

The Province of Pistoia is situated between the Province of Lucca west, the Province of Prato east and the Province of Florence south. Pistoia, the capital of the Province was founded by the Romans in the 2nd century under the name of Pistorium.In the 12th century the town became an important trade centre, lending money to the aristocracy. In the 14th century Pistoia lost importance, becoming dependent from Florence. The Duke of Ferrara tried in 1466 to withdraw it from the Florentines. Pope VII founded in the first half of the 16th century the Grand Duchy of Pistoia, ruled by the Medici, which fell therefore later under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
In the city center of Pistoia there is Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral’s square, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, containing the Romanesque San Zeno cathedral dating back to the 12th century as well as the bell tower. Next to the cathedral, Palazzo dei Vescovi, the bishop’s seat, built in the 11th century and today containing the Museum of the San Zeno cathedral. Right in front, the Gothik baptistery, built after Andrea Pisano’s plans and finished in 1359 with a beautiful green and white marble façade, reminding the Baptistery in Florence.

Cathedral San Zeno Pistoia

Cathedral San Zeno Pistoia

Next to the square, the 14th century building Palazzo della Podestà, today’s law court seat.
The Palazzo Comunale that is the town hall is lying right in front and was built between the 13th and the first half of the 14th century. Today it is seat of the town museum with special collcetions such as the Puccini collection or the documentation of the architect Giovanni Michelucci. From here is starting a narrow road to Palazzo Rospigliosi and the museum Museo Rospigliosi as well as the Nuovo Museo Diocesano. Visitors can admire inside the cathedral treasure as well as part of Pope Clemente’s residence with an important painting collections. There are three halls of the Diocesan museum with objects of the  sacral life in Pistoia. Towards north-west there is the former 13th century orphanage  Ospedale del Ceppo with a very particular front. The name derives from an empty stump (it. ceppo) in which people were putting their donations. Following still towards west, you’ll come to the S. Andrea’s church containing a parchment of  Giovanni Pisano.

Baptistry San Giovanni - Pistoia

Baptistry San Giovanni – Pistoia

The Basilica della Madonna dell’Umiltà was built in 1495 by Ventura Vitoni. After his death Giorgio Vasari finished in 1522 his works. As already indicates the name of the church San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, when it was built, the church was situated outside the city walls. Inside of the church there is a holy water stoup of Giovanni Pisano, dating back to 1270.  The chapel S. Antonio del Tau was founded in the 14th century by the Tau friars. The name “tau” in greeg means “T”. These monks had on their clothes a t-formed cross. Inside of the chapel there are interesting frescoes, such as the creation of the earth. The Romanesque church San Bartolomeo, founded in the 1st century, is situated in the homonymous square. The church houses a Gothic pulpit from Guido da Como. Each year at the end of July is taking place in the cathedral square the medieval competition La Giostra dell’Orso.

By | 2015-02-06T16:19:35+00:00 24 November 2010|Pistoia, Travel Guide|0 Comments

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