Delve deeper into the artistic treasures of Pistoia in Palazzo Rospigliosi. Home to the Rospigliosi and Diocesan Museums and the Lace Museum, this 16th-17th century Palazzo was the residence of the prestigious Rospigliosi family – of Pope Clement IX fame. The impressive artistic and liturgical collection within these elegantly decorated rooms with decadent and sumptuous furnishings creates a luxurious impact.
Continue on to the Basilica of the Madonna dell'Umiltà. Founded in 1495 by Giuliano da Sangallo, it was finished by no other than the noted art historian Giorgio Vasari. A staggering 59 metre-high cupola is gasp-inducing, and the decorations of the chapels, in part funded by the Rospigliosi family in the 1580s, include sacred images of great importance worthy of further exploration.
Enticing all those interested in art are the spectacular 14th-century frescoes in the Church of Tau. Intriguingly juxtapositioned against sculptures by Marino Marini, the appeal of this church lies in its significant restoration work which recovered many original structures and décor, including a crypt below and an outstanding late-Gothic fresco cycle.
The Romanesque Polychrome Church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas is just outside the city of Pistoia and is thought to have been built by the Lombards upon their conversion to Catholicism in the 12th century. Blind arches, two rows of loggias, and an arch and architrave by Gruamonte are all features which strike visitors, not forgetting, of course, the long white and green horizontal lines in white and serpentine marble from Prato, splendidly adorning the exterior.
For something a little bit different and more modern, check out the Gori collection at the Fattoria di Celle, one of the most important outdoor art collections in Italy. Located in Santomato, a small hamlet in the municipality of Pistoia, the romantic surroundings of the villa and park, formerly the property of the nobel Fabbroni family, were reappropriated by entrepreneur and collector Giuliano Gori in 1982 when he transformed it into an open-air contemporary art museum. With about 80 monumental works by renowned artists including Claudio Parmeggiani, Mauro Staccioli, Jean-Michel Folon, Enrico Castellani, Sol LeWitt and Hidetoshi Nagasawa, this impressive site is a must for any visitor to Pistoia and opens your eyes to a whole other side of cultural creativity.