A Day In Pistoia, Italy: Top 10 Things To Do

things to do in Pistoia

Tuscany’s best-kept secret, Pistoia is wedged between Florence and Lucca and brimming with architectural wonders and natural beauty. Home to many great artists, like Marino Marini and Giovanni Michelucci, the culture-rich city is, surprisingly, not on tourist radars, making it a safe haven for thriving flora and fauna. Tread down the unbeaten paths that lead to this hidden gem in Italy, and you’ll find yourself revelling in the beauty of this enchanting land that is packed with historical buildings, medieval churches, quaint cafes, gorgeous alpine surroundings, and much more. Here are the 10 best things to do in the area!

1. Piazza Del Duomo

Source: Photo by user Malles used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Piazza del Duomo - Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy

Posted by Art&Art Magazine on Friday, 23 June 2017

A lot of beauty in just one square: Piazza del Duomo in Pistoia is worth a visit. http://bit.ly/2lzvtMh

Posted by L'Italo-Americano Newspaper on Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Piazza forms the heart of the city. Located centrally, this vibrant square is thrumming with people, festivities, and exudes a general air of good vibes. Surrounded by some of Pistoia’s prized historical possessions - the baptistery, the cathedral, Palazzo dei Vescovi, and Palazzo Pretorio - this landmark is a must-visit, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are also market days, and a great way to savor the Tuscan culture. Additionally, Piazza Del Duomo is always buzzing with concerts, festive bazaars, and numerous local events. A must-visit, this magical center is where you can take languid strolls and take in the stunning architecture, or simply savor a cup of coffee (that are extremely cheap) and watch the world go by.

Piazza Del Duomo

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

2. Cattedrale di San Zeno (Cathedral of San Zeno)

L’Altare argenteo di San Jacopo è un capolavoro di oreficeria sacra medievale e si trova all’interno della Cattedrale di...

Posted by Cinzia Melani on Friday, 7 July 2017

18) Pistoia - Cattedrale di San Zeno - Facciata

Posted by Simone Magli, oltre lo sguardo on Sunday, 4 September 2016

Dedicated to Saint Zeno of Verona, this religious masterpiece is reason enough to take a detour to Pistoia. Standing tall in Piazza del Duomo, the 12th-century church, with three doorways and seven-arched portico, boasts stunning decors of majolica and glazed marble. To its left stands a campanile, which may have been a watch-tower base and is now the city’s emblem. Known as Campanile della Cattedrale, the tower offers a bird’s eye view of the whole square. To the right is a 1337 Sienese work of art - the Tomb of Cino da Pistoia. A doorway off the main entrance leads you to the dazzling Cappella di San Iácopo, which houses the Altarpiece of St James - a shining example of silversmithing.

Cathedral of San Zeno

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Website: Cathedral of San Zeno (in Italian)

3. Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery)

The Baptistery, located once again in the busy Piazza, is yet another stunning creation of the 1300s. Built to the intricate designs of Andrea Pisano, by Cellino di Nese, the building exterior looks striking in its alternate bands of white and green marbles. The main doorway houses a beautiful figure of Madonna and, above it, you can see glorious artwork depicting the life of John the Baptist. With its interiors further glorified by the figures of St. Peter and John the Baptist, along with Lanfranco da Como’s 13th-century font, the Baptistery is definitely an artist’s delight.


Address: Piazza del Duomo, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Website: Baptistery (in Italian)

4. Museo dell'Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi (Bishops' Palace)

Palazzo dei Vescovi
Source: Photo by user Malles used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The massive rectangular building is connected to the cathedral and, in fact, houses the same in its basement. Sitting on the southern side of Piazza del Duomo, the Bishops’ Palace was originally built in the 11th-century for the then bishop’s residential use and now stands as a converted palace having undergone a series of changes and restorations. The Gothic-style building is a treasure trove of sacred vestments and vessels from the cathedral, such as the famous S. James’ reliquary and Giovanni Pisano’s wooden sculpture of the Angel holding the Baptist’s head. But the main highlight is L'Arazzo Mille Fiori or Thousand Flowers Tapestry - an enchanting cloth showcasing mythical creatures amid flower-filled meadows. A holy grail of information for the historians, the palace is not to be missed.

Bishops' Palace

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

5. Giardino Zoologico di Pistoia (Zoo of Pistoia)

Okyla e Teddy
Source: Photo by user Giardino Zoologic... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Stamani, prima della pioggia...#buongiorno ! #elefante #gzp #giardinozoologicopistoia #pistoiacapitaledellacultura2017 #pistoia #elephant #nuovaarea #goodmorning

Posted by Giardino Zoologico di Pistoia on Friday, 14 July 2017

If you need a breather from history and culture, head to the city’s zoological park set in the hillside on the outskirts of Pistoia. Spanning over forest land, the Zoological Gardens of Pistoia are home to more than 400 species and aims to raise awareness of biodiversity and conservation activities. Plan a day trip to this beautiful property which also doubles up as an educational one for the kids while having lots of fun. The highlights of the park are the lions, elephants, lemurs, wolves, reptiles, and the delightful penguins. What makes the day even more exciting is the interaction with these beautiful animals and picnicking on the well-kept grounds.

Pistoia Zoological Garden

Address: Via Pieve a Celle NUOVA, 160/A, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Website: Pistoia Zoological Garden

6. Fattoria di Celle (Villa Farmhouse of Celle)

Posted by Collezione Gori - Fattoria di Celle on Saturday, 19 November 2016

Fausto Melotti: Tema e variazioni II

Posted by Collezione Gori - Fattoria di Celle on Friday, 7 July 2017

The vast stretch of the property showcases the 15th-century villa of a local businessman and his passion for art. His extraordinary private collection is spread across the expansive family estate, which also includes an aviary, a teahouse, along with the huge collection of 19th-century pieces of art, including the Gori Collection. All this when paired with cutting-edge installations makes for a compelling tourist hotspot. Art lovers eager to explore the full length and breadth of this park need to make a booking 30 days in advance for a guided 5 km (3 mile) hike around the estate, with almost no rest stops. So pack those walking shoes along with comfy clothes.

Fattoria di Celle

Address: Via Montalese, 7, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Website: Fattoria di Celle

7. Basilica della Madonna dell'Umiltà (Basilica of Our Lady of Humility)

Source: Photo by user Geobia used under CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1563, Giorgio Vasari was given the task of replicating the magnificent cupola of the famous Florence Duomo, to house the stunning fresco of Madonna herself, which now sits behind the high altar. Emulating the Medici Chapel, this modest building is a large, octagonal space with impressive decor and huge paintings dotting the walls, while the centerpiece - a beatific Madonna sitting on the ground and feeding her baby - evidently garners all the attention. Legend has it the fresco shed real tears back in 1498, thus making it an object of devout worship.

Basilica della Madonna dell'Umiltà

Address: Via della Madonna, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Website: Basilica della Madonna dell'Umiltà (in Italian)

8. Ponte Sospeso di San Marcello Pistoiese (suspended bridge)

Conosci il Ponte sospeso di San Marcello Pistoiese? Scopri perché è famoso: http://bit.ly/PontiToscana

Posted by Visit Tuscany It on Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Kabantis tiltas pakeliui, Ponte sospeso di San Marcello Pistoiese

Posted by UnseenTuscany.com on Monday, 27 July 2015

Essentially a pedestrian walkway between Popiglio and Mammiano Bass, this suspended bridge is a hidden gem that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding alpine mountains from atop a river canyon. A scenic drive leads you to this unique bridge. While it’s safe to walk this engineering marvel made of iron-grid, it’s not a good idea if you suffer from vertigo, as the perforated walkway provides a free view of ‘what lies beneath’. With free parking and restaurants close by, it is nonetheless, a rather thrilling walk amid brilliant scenery.

Ponte Sospeso di San Marcello Pistoiese

Address: Via Anghiari, 195, 51028 San Marcello Pistoiese PT, Italy

9. Museo Civico di Pistoia (civic museum)

Pistoia -Palazzo Comunale- 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Etienne used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Artista del XVIII secolo, Pistoia, Prato di San Francesco con la chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena al Prato (oggi non più esistente), Museo Civico, Pistoia, olio su tela #Italy

Posted by Storie dell'arte on Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Museo Civico Pistoia

Posted by Fabrizia Arduini on Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Located in Piazza del Duomo, this historical building is yet another feather in the city’s cap, lending its individualistic old-world charm to the already vibrant town square. Showcasing brilliant pieces of Florentine art and prestigious Pistoia testimonies that speak volumes about their religious, historical, and architectural links, the civic museum exhibits over 300 works, some sculptures but mostly pictorials. While they may not boast big names of their time, these exhibits are nonetheless extraordinary in their own right and an artist’s delight.

Museo Civico di Pistoia

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 1, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Website: Museo Civico di Pistoia

10. Magno Gaudio

Posted by MagnoGaudio on Monday, 16 May 2016

Prove.....! in un caldo pomeriggio d'estate! @La Dolce Peonia

Posted by MagnoGaudio on Wednesday, 19 July 2017

E' vero la Befana porta via con sé tutte le feste, ma non è mai passato il tempo per concedersi una coccola. Domani in...

Posted by MagnoGaudio on Saturday, 7 January 2017

No trip to Italy is complete without food! Magno Gaudio is a must-visit while traipsing about this quaint little town. Hugely popular with the locals, this all-rounder has quite a few imaginative dishes up its sleeve which, along with unpretentious, friendly service, is quite the game changer. Walk into this joint any time of the day - be it for a light breakfast, a heavy meal, or a midday snack - and you won’t be disappointed. The dishes that come highly recommended are the signature tuna carpaccio and the house-special pastas.

Magno Gaudio

Address: Via Curtatone e Montanara, 12, 51100 Pistoia PT, Italy

Discover Tuscany's best-kept secret - Pistoia

Tourists, and even intrepid travelers, often overlook this picturesque little town at the foot of the Apennines, along River Ombrone. Located in close proximity to popular haunts like Florence, Pisa, and Lucca, Pistoia is an easy day trip from any of these cities. Blessed with breathtaking mountainous landscape filled with forests and woodlands, this hidden gem is also home to a vibrant culture alongside stunning architecture and brilliant artwork. So next time you’re in this part of the globe, a small stopover at Pistoia might just be the most memorable part of your Italian holiday.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A spontaneous trip-planner, Diya is a freelancer from India who is now settled in Singapore. She loves reading, sketching, and exchanging travel stories with her friends (mostly for her handwritten...Read more

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