PISTOIA

Roman station on the Via Cassia, Town Hall during the Imperial era, occupied by the Goths (5th Century), it then became a Longobard Gastaldato (ruled by a Viceroy) and therefore a Carolingio Committee (9th Century). A Free Council (1107), it was conquered by Lucca (Castruccio Castracani, 1322) and then by Florence (1329), to which it belonged under both the Medici and Lorena Families.

The monuments and works of art which adorned it during the main periods of civil and economic development, give the City of Pistoia a noble and austere appearance: dating back to the 12th Century, with the authority of the Council, and characterized by the Pisana style of architecture, in the 1300’s with the main construction of civil architecture, and at the end of the 1400’s, when architecture resounded in Florentine styles.

The Cathedral Square is the historical and artistic centre of the City, showing strong medieval characteristics; the following are situated in the square: the Cathedral (12th-13th Centuries), the Baptistery (1338-59), the high Bell Tower, the old Episcope (Bishop’s Palace) (which houses the Capitolare Museum), the Magistrate Buildings (1367) and the Town Hall (1294/1385, now seat of the Civic Museum, with medieval-Tuscan works of rare and valuable workmanship), towers and porticos.

The Cathedral is in the Pisano style (the portico of the façade was added mid 1300’s) and is decorated externally with terracotta glass windows by Andrea della Robbia (added in 1505); in its interior, amidst the presence of the Crucifix painted by Coppo di Marcovaldo (1275) and 15th Century tablets, we can see the marvellous Dossale di S. Iacopo: an altar in silver, work of the master goldsmiths of Tuscany, begun in 1287 and continued for the whole of the 1300’s.

Included in the other relevant testifying pieces, we should remember the Churches of S. Giovanni Fuorcivitas (12th-13th Centuries), S. Domenico (13th Century), S. Francesco (1294) and the Madonna del’Umiltà (Madonna of Humility) (1494-1522), not forgetting the Palazzo Panciatichi (14th Century) and the Ospedale del Ceppo (1277, portico with decorations by Giovanni Della Robbia, 1525); the name derives from the interior of the tree trunk from which alms were collected.
A special mention has to be made about the Church of S. Andrea from the 12th Century, with its very beautiful façade in the Pisano style, enriched with an ancient doorway (1166) showing allegorical figuration; in its interior, we can find preserved, one of the masterpieces of Gothic Italian sculpture, that is, the Pulpit of Giovanni Pisano, erected between 1298 and 1301: the carved scenes already testify the whole dramatic tension which is typically Gothic.

The Pistoia province, a territory extending from the ridge of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines to the flatlands of the Arno, passing through a hilly band, is characteristic for its famous thermal tourism (Montecatini Terme, Monsummano Terme).

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PIASTOIA
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