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