World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000183875
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pistoia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 2013 UCI Road World Championships, Stadio Marcello Melani, Gianna Manzini, Battle of Campaldino, Agliana
Collection: Pistoia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Città di Pistoia
The Bell Tower of the Cathedral in Piazza Duomo.
The Bell Tower of the Cathedral in Piazza Duomo.
Coat of arms of Pistoia
Coat of arms
Pistoia is located in Italy
Location of Pistoia in Italy
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Province Pistoia (PT)
Frazioni see list
 • Mayor Samuele Bertinelli (PD)
 • Total 236 km2 (91 sq mi)
Elevation 65 m (213 ft)
Population (30 September 2008)
 • Total 90,072
 • Density 380/km2 (990/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Pistoiesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 51100
Dialing code 0573
Patron saint St. Jacopo
Saint day July 25
Website Official website
The Ospedale del Ceppo.
The octagonal baptistery.
The Duomo

Pistoia (Italian pronunciation: ) is a city and comune in the Tuscany region of Italy, the capital of a province of the same name, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) west and north of Florence and is crossed by the Ombrone Pistoiese, a tributary of the River Arno. It is a typical Italian medieval city, and it attracts many tourists, especially in the summer.


  • History 1
  • Main sights 2
    • Piazza del Duomo 2.1
    • Religious buildings 2.2
    • Others 2.3
  • Transportation 3
  • Notable people 4
  • Frazioni 5
  • Twin towns — sister cities 6
  • Events 7
  • Footnotes 8
  • Sources 9
  • External links 10


Pistoria (in Latin other possible spellings are Pistorium or Pistoriae) was a centre of Gallic, Ligurian and Etruscan settlements before becoming a Roman colony in the 6th century BC, along the important road Via Cassia: in 62 BC the demagogue Catiline and his fellow conspirators were slain nearby. From the 5th century the city was a bishopric, and during the Lombardic kingdom it was a royal city and had several privileges. Pistoia's most splendid age began in 1177 when it proclaimed itself a free commune: in the following years it became an important political centre, erecting walls and several public and religious buildings.

In 1254 the taking of Ghibelline Pistoia by Guelph Florence, was among the origins of the division of the Florentine Guelphs into "Black" and "White" factions. Pistoia remained a Florentine holding except for a brief period in the 14th century, when Castruccio Castracani captured it for Lucca, and was officially annexed to Florence in 1530. During the 14th century Ormanno Tedici was one of the Lords of the city. Dante mentioned in his Divina Commedia the free town of Pistoia as the home town of Vanni Fucci, who is encountered in Inferno tangled up in a knot of snakes while cursing God.

One of the most famous families of the city was that of the Rospigliosi, owners of agricultural estates and wool merchants; the Rospighliosi provided a pope in 1667 with Giulio Rospigliosi, who briefly reigned as Clement IX (1667–69), and gave several cardinals to the church.

In 1786 a famous Jansenist episcopal synod was convened in Pistoia.

According to one theory, Pistoia lent its name to the pistol,[1] which started to be manufactured in Pistoia during the 16th century. But today it is also notable for the extensive plant nurseries spreading around it. Consequently, Pistoia is also famous for its flower markets, as is the nearby Pescia.

Main sights

Although not as visited as other towns in Tuscany, mostly due to the city's industrial environs, Pistoia presents a well-preserved and charming medieval city inside the old walls.

Piazza del Duomo

The large Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the cathedral, is lined with other medieval buildings, such as the Palazzo del Comune and the Palazzo del Podestà: it is the setting (in July) of the Giostra dell'Orso ("Bear Joust"), when the best horsemen of the d\city's traditional quarters tilt with lances at a target held up by a dummy shaped like a bear.

The original Cathedral of San Zeno (5th century) burned down in 1108, but was rebuilt during the 12th century, and received incremental improvements until the 17th century. The façade has a prominent Romanesque style, while the interior received heavy Baroque additions which were removed during the 1960s. Its outstanding feature is the Altar of St James, an exemplar of the silversmith's craft begun in 1287 but not finished until the 15th century. Its various sections contain 628 figures, the total weighing nearly a ton. The Romanesque belfry, standing at some 67 metres (220 ft), was erected over an ancient Lombard tower.

In the square is also the 14th -century Baptistry, in Gothic style, with white and green striped marble revetment characteristic of the Tuscan Gothic.

The Palazzo dei Vescovi ("Bishops' Palace"), is characterized by a Gothic loggiato at the first floor. It is known from 1091, initially as a fortified noble residence. In the 12th century it received a more decorated appearance, with mullioned windows and frescoes, of which traces remain. It was later modified in the mid-12th (when the St. James Chapel, mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the XXIV canto of his Inferno) and in the 13th century; to the latter restoration belongs the white marble-decorated staircase, one of the most ancient examples in Italy in civil architecture. In the 14th century the Chapel of St. Nicholas was decorated with stories of the namesake saint and of martyrs

The Tower of Catilina is from the High Middle Ages, and stands 30 metres (98 ft) high.

Religious buildings

  • Giuliano da Sangallo, but works were begun in 1495 by Ventura Vitoni. The dome was commissioned by Cosimo I de' Medici to Vasari, the lantern begin completed in 1568 and the church consecrated in 1582. In the apse is a painting by Bernardino del Signoraccio (1493).
  • Santissima Annunziata, baroque church famous for its Chiostro dei Morti ("Dead's Cloister").
  • San Bartolomeo in Pantano (12th century).
  • San Giovanni Battista (15th century). Damaged during World War II bombardments, it is now used as an exhibition center.
  • San Giovanni Battista al Tempio (11th century), owned for a while by the Templar and then by the Hospitaller Knights.
  • San Benedetto (14th century, restored in 1630). It houses a 1390 Annunciation by Giovanni di Bartolomeo Cristiani, a 16th-century Forentine school St. Benedict with the Redeemer and, in the cloister, Histories of the Order of the Knights of St. Benedict by Giovan Battista Vanni (1660).
  • San Domenico.
  • Franciscan church of San Francesco (begun in 1289). It has an unfinished façade with bichrome marble decoration. It has frescoes with 'Histories of St. Francis in the main chapel and other 14th–15th centuries frescoes.
  • San Giovanni Fuoricivitas (12th–14th century) Romanesque church
  • San Leone, built in the 14th century but enlarged in the 16th–18th centuries. Its Baroque-Roccoco interior houses some notable canvasses by artists such as Giovanni Lanfranco, Stefano Marucelli and Vincenzo Meucci.
  • Santa Maria delle Grazie.
  • Santa Maria in Ripalta, mentioned from the 11th century. It houses a large Ascension fresco in the apse, attributed to Manfredino d'Alberto (1274).
  • San Paolo.
  • San Pier Maggiore.
  • Pieve di Sant'Andrea, housing Giovanni Pisano's Pulpit of St. Andrew.
  • Pieve of San Michele in Groppoli, ancient chapel in the neighbourhood of the city.
  • La Vergine.



Its station is located on the Viareggio–Florence railway and it is at the southern end of the Porrettana railway, the original line between Florence and Bologna.

Notable people


Badia a Pacciana, Baggio, Bargi, Barile, Bonelle, Bottegone, Campiglio, Germinaia, Canapale, Candeglia, Capostrada, Case Nuove di Masiano, Castagno di Piteccio, Chiazzano, Chiesina Montalese, Chiodo, Cignano, Cireglio, Collina, Corsini Bianchi, Corsini Neri, Fabbrica, Gello, Iano, Le Fornaci, Le Grazie, Le Piastre, Le Pozze, Le Querci, Lupicciano, Masiano, Masotti, Nespolo, Orsigna, Piazza, Piestro, Piteccio, Piuvica, Pontelungo, Pontenuovo, Pracchia, Pupigliana, Ramini, San Mommè, San Biagio, San Felice, San Rocco, Sant'Agostino, Sant'Alessio in Bigiano, Santomato, Saturnana, Spazzavento, Stazzana, Torbecchia, Valdibrana, Vicofaro, Villa di Baggio, Villanova di Valdibrana.

Twin towns — sister cities

Pistoia is twinned with:


  • Pistoia Blues, an international music festival held since 1980.
  • Giostra dell'Orso ("Joust of the Bear"), a ceremony that is mentioned even in a chronicle of 1300, when a dozen riders organized a ritual combat against a bear. Despite many changes, this traditional ceremony was staged every year until 1666, when the abandonment was recorded by the ritual celebration of the people. It was restarted in 1947, and takes place on July 25.


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary


External links

  • Comune di Pistoia
  • Pistoia Tourist Consortium: lots of information and city map download
  • Pistoia Blues Festival
  • Virtual Tour of the City
  • Pistoia Travel Guide
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.