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Jan 15, 2018

Pistoia – a Tuscan Town that is Worth the Detour

Gleaming in the winter light: the facade of the San Zeno Cathedral.
San Giovanni in Corte, a 14th century Gothic baptistry.
Pistoia is famous throughout Europe for its countless plant nurseries.
We bought a kilo of tangerines at the Piazza della Sala daily market.
And here is a wide shot of this lovely Piazza della Sala.
Finally, Molly and I indulged in a nice little dinner at Magno Gaudio’s…

Every time I travel between Florence and Lucca – I must have done it a hundred times, – I drive through the charming medieval town of Pistoia, famous throughout Europe for its impressive and well-organized plant nurseries. And every time, without fail, I make the same resolution: “Ok, next time, I will stop and visit one or two of these nurseries.”

A resolution which, as you may have guessed, I haven’t yet fulfilled. Well, not entirely fulfilled, I should say. For I finally did stop in Pistoia a few weeks ago, urged to do so by my friend Molly, who invited me to join her in the heart of the Tuscan city.

Molly organizes art, history and family tours in and around Florence. Some of you may remember that I recommended them in one of our previous blog posts: Florence’s Artisan Quarter.

So, a few weeks ago I went to meet up with Molly in Pistoia, a city which she had extolled to me several times before, and not just for its plant nurseries, highly fertile soil and unique microclimate.

We started our tour – with Molly as my private guide – on the large Piazza del Duomo, where we visited the Cathedral of San Zeno and the 14th century Gothic Baptistry. Then we walked westward and soon reached the Basilica of Our Lady of Humility, boasting a 59-meter high cupola built by Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century.

After this, we turned round and strolled back to the daily market held on the Piazza della Sala, where we bought a kilo of tangerines before having an aperitivo at one of the many bars fronting on the square.

Finally, we had dinner at the nearby Magno Gaudo restaurant, a big favourite with locals and situated on the Via Curtatone e Montanara.

And the plant nurseries?… Well, we didn’t have enough time to drop by any one of them!

But during our dinner, I was reminded that Molly’s Italian husband is a landscape architect and the proud owner of one of Pistoia’s nurseries.

So, guess what, I have made another resolution…


Katharina's Italy