Pistoia

The “improbable” names of Pistoia’s streets

Street names in Pistoia are among the most unique and extravagant in all of Tuscany

Many hidden corners and streets in Pistoia attest to the ancient disputes and battles that devastated the city in the middle ages. One of them is Via del Can Bianco, located near the ancient door of Carratica, whose history is tied to the Cancellieri family that lived in this part of town. One night the residents of this district were woken up by the barking of a white dog that had heard the advancement of enemies, who wanted to launch an attack. Residents rushed from their homes and foiled the attack. Thus the street takes the name of the white dog that alerted residents to the advance of their enemies.

Near Canto de’ Rossi is a street called, via “Abbi Pazienza”. According to popular tradition, this street was named after a bloody episode that occurred during the battles of the ancient fractions. The story is as follows: a man hiding in the shadows was waiting for his enemy to arrive to attack him, when another man passed him by, unaware of the plan. The man in the shadows attacked the innocent passerby, almost killing him. When he realized he had attacked the wrong man, he apologized, saying: “be patient” (in Italian, “Abbi pazienza”).

Near via Abbi Pazienza is via delle Pappe, which has nothing to do with Tuscan or local cuisine: “pappi” were the bandages that were given to the ill at the nearby Ceppo hospital. Instead, the name of Ceppo comes from a tree trunk that was used to collect donations to help heal the sick and the poor. Another street name with a story is via dell’Acqua: this where the only hotel in the city offered to “bring water to rooms” in the middle ages.