The city of Pistoia appeared as a Roman settlement. It started to grow rapidly in the XII century after Pistoia became self-governing. However, the struggle of two competing parties, the Guelphs and Ghibellines, weakened the city and, as a result, powerful Florence took over the governance. The city has kept its historical heritage since that time.
The historical part of Pistoia is surrounded by curtain walls with a watchtower.
Magnificent works of Pisan sculptors, which still decorate the Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas, include a pulpit, decorated with episodes from the New Covenant, and a marble baptismal font, containing the allegorical figures “The four virtues” by Giovanni Pisano. The church itself is remarkable for its luxuriant decor.
The grand San Zeno Cathedral, which resembles an amphitheater and is an example of both roman and pisan styles, is located on Cathedral Square. The tomb of Chino da Pistoia, who was a poet and a friend of Dante, is in its southern nave. Among the sacred objects of the Cathedral, which are not only hallowed but also esteemed by culture connoisseurs, is the silver sanctuary of St Jakob chapel, decorated with more than six hundred of bas-reliefs and statues. There is also a baptistery created by the work of the famous architect, Andrea Pisano, on Cathedral Square.
Close to the Cathedral you can find the Palace of the Commune (Palazzo del Comune), which dates back to the end of the XIII century. Today it houses the City museum (Museo Civico), where you can get acquainted with local paintings of different periods.
Traditional Della Sala Square (Piazza della Sala) is picturesque and vivid. There is a market here, where you can buy local delicacies including cheese, various kinds of salami, olive oil and wine. However, you can buy these and many other groceries at other stores and markets as Pistoia province specializes in agriculture.
The Bear Tournament in Pistoia
The main holiday in the city of Pistoia, located in Tuscany, Italy, is held annually on the 25th of July. The so-called â€śBear Tournamentâ€ť (Italian: Giostra dell' Orso) takes place on this day.