Pistoia is one of the historic towns of Tuscany along the A11 Autostrada between Lucca and Florence. Seldom visited by tourists, Pistoia has a wonderful historic center worth a look. Our map shows the main tourism sites in Pistoia as well as a couple of the restaurants we really like. Is Pistoia like a miniature Florence, as a friend suggested? You decide, but the gem of a city deserves a day or two at least.
Map of Pistoia, Italy Showing Tourist Attractions and Recommended Restaurants
From the train station, just walk north to the centro storico.
Pistoia Travel Toolbox
Pistoia gave its name to the pistol, and travelers ignore it, but there are some fine attractions in this Tuscan city, including the 12th century Duomo and Cappella del Tau. There's also the Ospedale del Ceppo, Ceppo Hospital, founded in 1277. Inside there's a valuable collection of surgical instruments dating back to between the 17th and 19th century, displayed in the “Filippo Pacini” Medical Academy Hall.
Pistoia has one of the most impressive Duomo squares in Italy, with the Cattedrale di San Zeno and its bell tower, as well as the impressive Battistero di San Giovanni in Corte.
Weather and Climate
Pistoia is very close to Florence (it's a 38 minute train ride between the two cities), so the climate is quite similar. Here is climate information for Florence, Italy.
Going Underground in Pistoia: Pistoia Sotterranea
Pistoia offers the tourist a unique opportunity to get below the ancient Ceppo Hospital to see the underpinnings of the earlier structure. Here's some of that uniqueness as spouted by the tourist office:
The visitor, accompanied by a guide, is led to the discovery of the oldest architectural remains of the city, now only visible along this underground route, which winds for about 650 meters, below the hospital. During the tour, the construction phases of the hospital are explained as well as its relationship with the city during different periods of history.
This archaeological site is the longest underground tour in Italy to be accessible to disabled and visually impaired people. It is suitable for children and adults. Events include concerts and lectures in the underground theater.
After you've seen things below the hospital, you ascend it and see the ancient operating theater and surgical instruments. Well worth the entry fee, information here.
Food and Drink
Osteria La BotteGaia is in a perfect location; the back door faces the Piazza del Duomo and the front door looks out upon the market and the medieval shops with their ancient shutters and stone benches. How could I resist? Why would I ever want to resist?
La BotteGaia's menu is quite extensive. You can have a full Italian meal, or a big salad, or several small plates. The wine list (the restaurant was born from the owner's nearby wine shop) is extensive. My advice: Go there. Eat well. Enjoy the very heart of Pistoia.
Marked on the map in the northern part of Postoia's centro is Enoteca dal Mizio, recommended for lunch.
Where to Stay
Pistoia has a number of hotels and apartments for rent. The highly-rated luxury choice is Battistero Residenza d'Epoca. It has an exceptional location right behind the baptistery. The budget choice, Hotel Villa Cappugi, has parking for you if you're coming to Pistoia with a car.
For other choices, enter "pistoia" in the search box below the picture.