I’ve been to Pistoia once before and this time returned to buy some sunglasses from a Groupon deal that I had purchased. Pistoia is only a 40 minute train ride from Florence, and I decided to make a day of it. When we arrived in Pistoia, I immediately noticed how calm and quiet it was, and how few people strolled the streets. No tourists! We arrived in the afternoon; so many places were closed for the afternoon break, which added to the desolate feeling. My appointment was at 3:30, about the time things would start opening again. We completed the business we had there and then decided to “take in” Pistoia. When we emerged from the store, things had changed.The quiet streets were still relatively quiet (compared to Florence) but there was a bustle that had started with the evening openings, appertivos, (Happy hour) and passeggiata (evening stroll).
There was a vegetable market located in a small pretty piazza surrounded by several cafes and bars. We had a drink there and they served a nice small cold cut platter.We went into the main piazza which is idyllic. The usual children were at play and folks starting to gather. The church is really beautiful inside and has a wonderful Luca della Robbia over the door. The baptistery is amazing and these sites are free to enter.Pistoia is a great city of art that often gets overlooked because there are so many options around Tuscany and near Florence. Each year they have a Blues Festival, but so far I haven’t been able to attend. If you get a chance to visit, take the opportunity to enjoy one of Tuscany’s beautiful cities of art that is still relatively tourist free.