Discover Pistoia in a weekend
Two days to dedicate to culture, great food and shopping
Less famous and advertised than other Tuscan cities, Pistoia is a beautiful place to spend a romantic weekend in Tuscany, and can certainly hold a lot of surprises for anyone who chooses this destination for a weekend. Moreover, there are well-known attractions in the Pistoia area, like Pistoia Zoo, with around 400 animals; Collodi Park, in honour of Pinocchio; the Montecatini Terme spa, but also charming natural areas such as the hills of Montalbano, those of Svizzera Pesciatina and the fascinating summits of Abetone which every year attract thousands of skiers in winter and mountain tourism holidaymakers in summer. First of all, however, you have to discover the city; here are some suggestions for getting to know Pistoia from the point of view of fashion and culture.
THE HISTORIC MARKET IN PIAZZA DEL DUOMO
If you arrive in Pistoia on Saturday morning, we recommend a stroll through the market held in Piazza del Duomo and in the adjoining streets: it’s a historic market, dating back to the 10th century. Today the market is held twice a week, on Saturday and on Wednesday. Here you can find local craft items, but also antiques and vintage pieces of furniture. One particularity of Piazza del Duomo is the fact that all the institutions governing city life are united here: the religious one (Saint Zeno Cathedral), the administrative one (the Town Hall) and the legal one (the Court).
VISIT SAINT ZENO CATHEDRAL
Saint Zeno Cathedral, which stands right in front of the Baptistery, is the principle site of worship in the city; its origins probably date back to the 5th century, even though the first written documentation dates to 923. Pistoia Cathedral has been subject to a number of renovations over the centuries. The Romanesque style of the facade can be admired from the outside; two marble statues stand on the summit representing Saint Jacopo, Patron Saint of the city and Saint Zeno, after whom the cathedral is named.
CLIMBING THE BELL TOWER
The Bell Tower of Saint Zeno Cathedral stands in the splendid Piazza del Duomo. Around 200 steps are needed to climb its 67 metres: we can assure you it’s not a particularly difficult feat, as there are several intermediary floors where you can get your breath back and look at the view. Once you’ve arrived at the top, the view is really magnificent. The hills form the backdrop to a canvas of roofs of houses and monuments illuminated by the sun: you won’t be able to stop taking photographs to keep as a reminder and to put on your social media!
CULTURE AND ALSO GREAT FOOD
We recommend two different eating places which will enable you to discover the Tuscan city from a culinary point of view. The first is MEZZADRIA, simple and ideal for lunches. Here you can try out the fantastic panini; it’s the perfect place for an inexpensive and really tasty meal. You can choose from the panini offered by them or make one as you wish by opting for the ingredients available in a long list of meats, vegetables, sauces and cheeses which is given to you before you order http://www.mezzadria.it/.
TRATTORIA LO STORNO, instead, is a restaurant in the historic centre and one of the oldest in the city. Here you can choose from typical Pistoia dishes, such as the mixed tray of cold meats or a mushroom soup with Tuscan bread, or better still, the famous Ribollita. Trattoria Lo Storno is in Via del Lastrone, 8.
Pistoia is famous for its hand-made sugared almonds. You can still buy them in many traditional bakeries and pastry shops where the tradition is kept alive, such as the Corsini pastry shop, opened as long ago as 1928. Another local product to buy are the Brigidini di Lamporecchio, that is, the sweet wafers fragranced with aniseed. There are also many small shops in the centre that display precious embroideries carried out by hand according to the local tradition. There are not only sweets but also fashion, such as Boutique Fagni, a historic shop selling clothes, shoes, leather goods and accessories, situated in Via Curtatone and Montanara in the centre of the city of Pistoia. Opened in 1945 as a shop selling cloth and fabrics for dresses, Fagni is today a refined and sophisticated concept store, which offers established brands and also products of young innovative stylists. Elegance and attention to detail applies to the shop itself, as well as the finishings chosen to make the store unique and welcoming. Andrea Piccinelli, interior designer with his office in Prato, chose for Fagni in Pistoia to “design and create a boutique that “broke with the past”; the shop has a clearly international feel, following a clean-cut, tactile, rational approach. The 600 sq.m. distributed on two levels include rooms of various sizes and heights.
The materials used, such as glass, iron and ceramics, in a successful blend with the furnishings, become the common theme of the shop’s identity. A wonderful mix is created between the ceramics, a material which more dynamic than ever and open to ideas; solid walnut wood, originating from the Prato Apennines, seasoned and processed to make pieces of furniture; glass and steel, technical and neutral elements, modern and versatile; and Led lighting, a unique intangible and sensorial element. In this context the floors in porcelain stoneware form the Cottocemento collection, branded Ceramiche Coem, generate a dynamic spatial perspective that is highlighted by an effective interior lighting, assigned only to the display units. Ceramics and light guide the visual and sensorial discovery of the boutique. Cottocemento reinterprets concrete in a contemporary manner also thanks to the decidedly large dimensions; the colours are more varied and powdery, almost “impregnated” with marks of time. The overall effect is of a surface with fine and irregular patterns for surroundings with a modern and elegant taste.
Pistoia is a city really worth visiting, still not particularly touristic and in which you can sense an atmosphere of authenticity. Why don’t you pay us a visit?
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