This was the city’s ancient centre under Lombard rule. The square later went on to assume and consolidate its commercial function, which it retains to this day. The powerful Society of St. James promoted and controlled all the workings of the market.
Project Category: Discover the city
This magnificent Gothic building was built over the ruins of an even more ancient church during the mid-14th century. A likely centralized Lombard-era church of Santa Maria in Corte in front of the Cathedral is mentioned in documents from 1114.
A symbol of municipal power, it was established as the city’s seat of government, a function it maintains still today. The earliest work is traced back to 1294. The current form dates to work carried out in the mid-14th century.
The first traces of the Cathedral date back to the year 923. The building owes its current appearance to subsequent modifications carried out during the 12th, 14th and 15th centuries.
The portico, which includes a terracotta Madonna and Child (1505) by Andrea della Robbia, was built in the 14th century. Two marble statues of Saint James, on the right, and Saint Zeno, on the left, stand on the top of the façade.
The church, which was originally built outside the town walls ("fuorcivitas" means “outside the city”), assumed its present aspect between the 12th and 14th centuries.
The structure’s white and green façade represents one of the greatest achievements of Pistoia’s Romanesque architectural heritage.
Work upon this large centrally designed church began in 1495 and was completed in 1568, and included the intervention of Giorgio Vasari, who designed its imposing dome, which went on to become one of the city’s most prominent architectural and religious symbols.
Next to the cathedral is a medieval building, that was once the ancient bishop’s see. On the ground floor is the original sacristy of the treasure of St. James, now kept in a section of the Museum of the Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi, is located in the same palace.
Already in existence by 1277, the hospital presents a Brunelleschi inspired arcade. Completed between 1512 and 1517, it is decorated with medallions by Benedetto Buglioni and Giovanni della Robbia (1515-1529) and by the frieze with the Works of Mercy, consisting of seven polychrome-glazed terracotta panels.
While its foundation dates back to the 8th century, the church owes its current appearance to the work carried out between the 12th and 13th centuries. Inside, the church features a magnificent pulpit and two painted wooden crucifixes, which are attributed to the work of Giovanni Pisano (1298-1301).