Built originally in the fourteenth century and restored in the sixteenth by Cosimo de’ Medici to provide protection for the town, the Medicean Fortress of Santa Barbara provides a great opportunity to step back into history. Sat at the south-east corner of the city walls, the fortress looks over the town of Pistoia and offers wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
The Ospedale del Ceppo is a medieval hospital said to have been founded in 1277 which continued operations as a hospital until 2013. It is one of the most significant buildings in Pistoia and its appearance today is the result of restorations and additions from throughout the centuries. The famous frieze on the building, showing the ‘Seven Works of Mercy’, is one of the most important masterpieces of the Tuscan Renaissance, and one of the most important symbols of Pistoia. Something of a secret passageway, winding for several hundred metres under the Ospedale del Ceppo, the Pistoia Underground Museum is something you can’t miss on a visit to this town. During the tour, you’ll visit an anatomical amphitheatre, historically used for medical teaching, and learn about the hospital’s history and its place in the town through the years. Suitable for children and adults as well as accessible to the disabled and the visually impaired, this fascinating attraction can be enjoyed by all.
The Civic Art Museum housed in Pistoia’s old city hall (Museo Civivo d’arte antica in Palazzo Comunale) is the most important museum on the town’s circuit, and opened its doors to the public in 1922. The Gothic-style Palazzo Comunale, also called the Palazzo degli anziani, was built in the fourteenth-century and sits proudly in Pistoia’s Cathedral Square. The paintings, sculptures and other pieces or art inside not only represent the entire artistic history of Pistoia throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but also include sublime works dating back to the 1300’s.