Pistoia

Infobox CityIT
img_coa = Pistoia-Stemma.png official_name = Comune di Pistoia
name=Pistoia
mapx=43.9
mapy=10.92
region = Tuscany
province = Pistoia (PT)
elevation_m = 65
area_total_km2 = 236
population_as_of = September 31, 2006
population_total = 92267
population_density_km2 = 391
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|43|56|N|10|55|E
frazioni = see list
telephone = 0573
postalcode = 51100
gentilic = Pistoiesi
saint = St. Jacopo
day = July 25
mayor = Renzo Berti (from May 2002)
website = [http://www.comune.pistoia.it www.comune.pistoia.it]

Pistoia is a city in the Tuscany region of Italy, the capital of a province of the same name, located about 30 km west and north of Florence.

History

"Pistoria" (in latin other possible spellings are "Pistorium" or "Pistoriae") was centre of Gallic, Ligurian and Etruscan settlements before becoming a Roman colony in the 6th century BC, along the important road Via Cassia: in 62 BC the demagogue Catiline and his fellow conspirators were slain nearby. From the 5th century the city was a bishopric, and during the Lombardic kingdom it was a royal city and had several privileges. Pistoia's most splendid age began in 1177 when it proclaimed itself a free commune: in the following years it became an important political centre, erecting walls and several public and religious buildings.

In 1254 the Ghibelline Pistoia was taken over by Guelph Florence, but supposedly resulted in the division of the Guelphs into "Black" and "White" factions.Pistoia remained a Florentine holding except for a brief period in the 14th century, when Castruccio Castracani captured it for Lucca, and was officially annexed to Florence in 1530. During the 14th century Ormanno Tedici was one of the Lords of the city.

In 1786 a famous Jansenist episcopal synod was convened in Pistoia.

Dante mentioned in his Divina Commedia the free town of Pistoia as the home town of Vanni Fucci, who is encountered in "Inferno" tangled up in a knot of snakes while cursing God, and Michelangelo called the "Pistoiesi" the "enemies of heaven".

Pistoia lent its name to the pistol [ [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=pistol&searchmode=none Online Etymology Dictionary ] ] , which it started manufacturing in the 16th century. But today it is also notable for the extensive garden nurseries spreading around it. Consequently, Pistoia is also famous for its flower markets, as is the nearby Pescia.

Main sights

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. The façade has a prominent Romanesque style, while the interior received heavy Baroque additions which were removed during the 1960s. Its outstanding feature is the "Altar of St James", an exemplar of the silversmith's craft begun in 1287 but not finished until the 15th century. Its various sections contain 628 figures, the total weighing nearly a ton. The Romanesque belfry, standing at some 67 m, was erected over an ancient Lombard tower.

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. The Tower of Catilina is from the High Middle Ages, and stands 30 m high.

Other relevant buildings

* Church of the "Madonna dell'Umiltà "(1509), finished by Giovanni Vasari with a 59 m-high cupola.
* Church of "San Bartolomeo in Pantano" (12th century).
* The Romanesque church of "San Giovanni Fuoricivitas" (12th-14th century).
* The Monument in Honour of Brazilians (Soldiers and Pilots) killed in action on Italian Campaign (World War II)
* Church of "San Domenico".
* Church of "Santa Maria delle Grazie".
* Church of "San Pietro Maggiore".
* Church of "San Paolo".
* Church of "La Vergine".
*the Baroque church of "Santissima Annunziata", famous for its Chiostro dei Morti ("Dead's Cloister").
* "Ospedale del Ceppo "(13th century).
* 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.
*The Medici Fortress of Santa Barbara, built in the 16th century by the Florentines.
*The ancient "Pieve San Michele in Groppoli", in the neighbourhood of the city.

Notable people born in Pistoia

*Enrico Betti
*Mauro Bolognini
*Cino da Pistoia
*Pope Clement IX
*Ippolito Desideri
*Massimo Freccia (Valdibure)
*Licio Gelli
*Marino Marini
*Filippo Pacini

"Frazioni"

Badia a Pacciana, Bargi, Bonelle, Bottegone, Canapale, Chiodo, Chiazzano, Chiesina Montalese, Cireglio, Collina, Capostrada, Candeglia, Gello, Le Grazie, Le Piastre, Masiano, Orsigna, Piazza, Piteccio, Pontelungo, Pontenuovo, Pracchia, Ramini, San Felice, Sammommè, Santomato, Saturnana, Spazzavento, Valdibrana, Vicofaro, Sant'Agostino, Torbecchia, Nespolo, Le Querci, Le Fornaci.

Twin towns

Pistoia is twinned with:
*flagicon|France Pau, France, since 1975

Footnotes

Bibliography

* David Herlihy. "Medieval and Renaissance Pistoia: the social history of an Italian town". New Haven e Londra, Yale University Press, 1967.

External links

* [http://www.comune.pistoia.it/ Comune di Pistoia]
* [http://www.pistoiaturismo.com/EN Pistoia Tourist Consortium: lots of information and city map download]
* [http://www.pistoiablues.com/ Pistoia Blues Festival]
* [http://digilander.libero.it/pistoia_tour/ Virtual Tour of the City]


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