Pistoia is a city and comune in the Tuscany region of Italy, the capital of a province of the same name, located about 30 km west and north of Florence and is crossed by the Ombrone Pistoiese, a tributary of the River Arno.
Although not as visited as other towns in Tuscany, mostly due to the industrial environs, Pistoia presents a well-preserved and charming medieval city inside the old walls.
Piazza del Duomo
- The large Piazza del Duomo is lined with attractive original buildings 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 districts of the town 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 following century, and received incremental improvements until the 17th century.
- In the square is also the 14th century Baptistry, in Gothic style, with white-green marble decorations.
- 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.
- The Tower of Catilina is from the High Middle Ages, and stands 30 m high.
- Basilica of Our Lady of Humility (Madonna dell'Umiltà) (1509), finished by Giorgio Vasari with a 59 m-high cupola. The original project was by 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).
- the Baroque Santissima Annunziata, 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.
- The Romanesque San Giovanni Fuoricivitas (12th–14th century).
- 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.
- The ancient Pieve of San Michele in Groppoli, in the neighbourhood of the city.
- La Vergine.
- The 14th century walls. These had originally four gates, Porta al Borgo, Porta San Marco, Porta Carratica and Porta Lucchese, all demolished at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Ospedale del Ceppo (13th century).
- Palazzo Panciatichi
- The Monument in Honour of Brazilians (Soldiers and Pilots) killed in action on Italian Campaign (World War II)
- The Medici Fortress of Santa Barbara, built a first time in 1331 century by the Florentines, but destroyed by the Pistoiese citizens in 1343. It was rebuilt by order of Cosimo I de' Medici from 1539, and later enlarged by Bernardo Buontalenti. It sustained one single siege by the Barberini troops in 1643, before being disarmed by Grand Duke Peter Leopold in 1734. Later it was used as barracks and military jail, while now houses cinema shows in summer.