City tour of Pistoia
The itinerary covers the city’s main attractions, starting from the impressive Piazza del Duomo around which are found the ancient symbols of civil and religious power centre: the Cathedral of San Zeno, the Baptistery, the Townhall (also home of the Civic Museum of Ancient Art), the Ancient Bishops’ Palace, the Palazzo del Podestà or Pretorio, and the Tower of Catilina.
In the Middle Ages, this was the beginning of the Italian branch of the Cammino de Santiago, the pilgrims’ route that led to Santiago de Compostela. A stone’s throw from Piazza del Duomo is Piazza della Sala, the city’s traditional mercantile centre. Today it is home to a picturesque fruit and vegetable market during the day and to Pistoia’s lively nightlife. A short distance away is the Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas with its splendid white-and-green striped side is worth seeing.
Going from here to Via della Madonna, we come to the Renaissance Basilica of the Madonna dell’Umiltà whose majestic dome, designed by Giorgio Vasari, is one of the city’s architectural symbols. From here, we quickly arrive at the Church of Sant’Andrea, with its beautiful pulpit, a masterpiece by Giovanni Pisano. Nearby is the Spedale del Ceppo, on whose the facade is the elegant 16th-century loggia with a Della Robbia frieze in glazed polychrome terracotta, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and another of the city’s more emblematic works.