There are so many reasons why millions of visitors arrive in Tuscany every year. Many come to the Italian region for its world-renowned food and drink, the hills scattered with vibrant vineyards and decades of tradition. More people visit Tuscany for its immense artistic wealth, with cities such as Pisa and Florence renowned for their Italian art and architecture. There’s barely even time to mention the beautiful Mediterranean coast! With so much going on, it can be easy to miss some of the regions lesser-spoken but equally unmissable gems, and Pistoia is number one on that list.
A quiet city just north of Florence, and inland from Pisa, Pistoia is a location heaped in Tuscan tradition. For frequent travellers to the region, this may be the perfect place to discover a new side to Tuscany! Discover what you could get up to in seven days during a stay at our luxury holiday villas Tuscany in the area.
Day One – Arrival
There will always be something special about that moment when you drop your heavy bags off inside your very own luxury Tuscan villa and look out at your new home, even if it is just for a week. Take the time to enjoy your new surrounds, testing out the pool or relaxing on the sunbeds, or maybe search for any secrets that you could find in your large grounds!
If you arrived in Pistoia early in the day, then there’s plenty of time to plan your living arrangements for the next seven days before heading into town. If you arrived in the evening, then you may decide to find a local shop, stock up on some essential ingredients and cook yourselves a classic, simple Italian meal at your new villa, before inevitably falling sound asleep after all that travel!
Day Two – Mingle in Pistoia’s Piazzas
One of the great attractions of Pistoia is that it has all the culture of the heavyweight locations, such as Florence, without the intense crowds. Like any great Italian city, much of Pistoia energy can be found in its traditional squares and, depending on the day you arrive, there is usually something going on in each.
The hub of Pistoia is Piazza del Duomo, the traditional and modern centre for everything in this city. Surrounded by important buildings, the area is always lively. However, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is also a morning market for you to enjoy. An alternative is the daily farmer’s market at the city’s traditional trading hub, Piazza della Sala, the perfect opportunity to grab some fresh and local ingredients for those nights of home cooking. However, Piazza della Sala is also the go-to location for evening drinks and entertainment, with bars spilling out onto the square, so make sure you’re in the area for a beautiful night in the city!
Day Three – Visit the Museums
Pistoia is a location teeming with history, and there are numerous locations in which to explore the city’s past. The most significant is the Civic Museum, housed in an old Bishop’s Palace on Piazza del Duomo, which includes the Thousand Flowers Tapestry, a late-Gothic piece with huge significance for the traditions of the city. Another notable location is Rospigliosi Palace, just off from the Piazza that houses three more museums full of artwork to discover!
Day Four – Capture Pistoia’s Landmarks
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at Pistoia’s distinctive landmarks. Aided with the knowledge of locals and the history of the city, you will learn a deeper understanding of buildings such as the Basilica of Madonna dell’Umiltà, a small church inspired by Florence’s renowned cathedral. Today is also an excellent chance to explore Pistoia Cathedral, the imposing building on Piazza del Duomo that is often the poster for the city. Climbing its bell tower will give you tremendous views over the entire region!
Day Five – Explore Pistoia’s Secrets
Hopefully, you have left one of Pistoia’s great attractions for later in the week, because the wait is certainly worth it. If it wasn’t for the constant mingling crowds, the Ospedale del Ceppo is a building that would be easily passed by after a glance, especially given the immense architectural beauty throughout the city. Built around 1277, the old hospital is still in use today and is known for its impressive frescoes that line its exterior. However, the secrets to this city lie underneath.
The hospital is the starting location of a unique underground tour, 0.4 miles in length along the path of the old Brana River. The longest tunnel of its kind in Tuscany, this tour takes you through the hospital’s construction and the architectural history of this city and is certainly not one to miss!
Day Six – You Time
It’s the last full day of your trip, and by now we’re sure you would have made some fantastic memories. Treat yourself and your loved ones to something special on your last day – whether that’s a visit to the museums again, a visit to that restaurant you passed on the Piazza or just a day of fun and games at the villa, make sure you make the most of your time together in Pistoia.
Day Seven – Departure
Now the time has come to prepare for the journey back home. Hopefully, you have been so busy that you are leaving Pistoia full of excellent memories and with a greater connection to your loved ones and Tuscany as a whole! If you already can’t wait to get back to the region, why not take a look at our list of must-see places in Tuscany?