Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 21, 2020

Pistoia revisited

I love Pistoia! It is an easy day trip from Bagni di Lucca, but the hot weather puts me off doing this. I prefer to stay overnight so I can get out and about in the morning, go back to the hotel in the heat of the afternoon, then venture out again when it cools down a bit.

One of the very best things about Pistoia is my lovely friend Michela. She was born in Pistoia and absolutely loves her home town. She is a fabulous tour guide and has shown me many of her favourite things.

This time we met in front of the Romanesque church dedicated to San Bartolomeo, dating from the 8th century, with renovations in the 12th century. It is almost time for the festival honouring the saint.

In front of the church is the Pasticceria Banci where Michela introduced me to the special sweet made for the celebrations.


As well as being a professional tour guide, Michela’s family has owned their restaurant, Il Pollo D’Oro, since 1962. The name, Golden Chicken, refers to the chicken ‘tanned’ in a rotisserie, which is how the restaurant began. They now serve excellent local dishes and delicious pizzas.

Michela and I have made plans for a day in Florence when the weather cools a little. This will be fun, she knows Florence like the back of her hand and is wonderful company.

My wanderings took me all over town. I have been several times before, so I had no particular agenda.


The baptistery is magnificent outside and in. The stark interior is enormous, photos cannot show how amazing this is…you have to go there and see for yourself.


My favourite building in Pistoia is the 13th century Ospedale del Ceppo. It was built in 1277 and became the city’s main hospital after the Black Death in 1348. There were several renovations until the current facade was built with the Renaissance arcaded loggia in 1502.


The loggia is decorated with a ceramic glaze frieze added in 1525 by Santi Buglioni, a student of Giovanni della Robbia.


Also from 1525 are the tondoes by Giovanni della Robbia.

…and above the door to the church next door.

The city looks lovely at night.


The Piazza della Sala is a fresh food market by day, but at night the market stalls are gone and the restaurants bring out their tables and chairs and the scene becomes lively again. Things are a bit muted this year, but there was still a small crowd of happy diners.

I had a wonderful meal at i Salaioli. Tomato stuffed with stracciatella, gnocchi with saffron and zucchini and perfect pork belly.

I stayed at Palazzo Puccini, sister accommodation to where I stayed last time, La Locanda San Marco. They also have apartments called Il Ceppo.

My bedroom was enormous and the bathroom was a generous size also.

The breakfast room and common rooms are beautiful. I always want to go home and paint my walls and ceilings after staying in lovely places like this.

Here is a photo of Michela that I took a while ago in front of my favourite cafe in Pistoia, regretfully closed for holidays this time. Below is a link to Michela’s blog.

Here are some links to previous posts about Pistoia.

I want to live in Pistoia


Picturesque Pistoia


Pole dancing in Pistoia


Pistoia is a great place to visit. It is close to Florence, but even in busy seasons has been able to avoid the throngs of tourists and is always charming and manageable. It would be a great day trip if you were staying in Florence or Lucca, or better still, stay a night or two.






  1. Lovely Pistoia! I have only spent a few hours there but would also love to visit again…..some day soon, I hope. Your photos do it justice, and put a smile of remembrance on my face, for happier days spent in Bella Italia.

    • It is a lovely, vibrant town. I have been several times and like it more each time I visit.

  2. Loved following you on tour of Pistoia & agree with you that photos cannot show how amazing & also the size of places however your photos are always great. The colours of the ceramic frieze are so vivid they could have just been done recently. Loved your menu choice! You are lucky to have Michela as guide but you are good also.

    • It is difficult to believe the frieze is nearly 500 years old. It is brilliant.

  3. We will have to add Pistoia to our itinerary when we visit next. Looks like a lovely town.

    • Pistoia is great. The food market is excellent and there are some amazing restaurants.

  4. I very much enjoyed viewing your images of Pistoia!! I stayed there several years ago and will return when life returns to relative normality!!

    • Let’s hope we can all start travelling again soon.

  5. Added to my list for next time.

    • Definitely worth several visits.

  6. I very much enjoyed that you shared your visit, to this gem of place. It makes me feel missing to go to Italy again. Thank you Debra.

    • Italy has so many beautiful places and some are very close to my home here.

  7. Lovely photos of Pistoia, Deb. I had a week there booked for August after reading your last blog. Cancelled of course!! Now these photos make me so want to go when we can travel again . Loved the della Robbias and the frieze. So much to see .

    • I hope you get to Pistoia eventually.

  8. What a beautiful place, and off the radar of many foreign tourists. Your accommodation looked just lovely too.

    • Pistoia deserves to attract more visitors than it does. This also makes it more attractive. My accommodation was lovely, the breakfast was great and reception was very friendly. I would also like to try the apartment when Jim finally gets here.

  9. I love when blogging buddies meet! I’d love to meet you both one day (Debra and Michele)!! Pistoia looks amazing. I’ve shared on my Twitter. xx

    • Pistoia is great. You need to visit and we can all see it together.

    • We need a blogging buddies get together when COVID-19 is behind us. I met Debra in Lucca back in 2013 after attending Let’s Blog Abruzzo, Ishtia. MaryLouise

      • It is always fun to meet fellow bloggers.

  10. How good to see this wonderful place featured, and to see that lovely woman again.

    Sitting here in the pariah state if our country, wondering when we’ll ever be free to come and go as we wish. We don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it, eh?

  11. Sigh! This makes me yearn for travel so much (well more than usual!). It’s so nice to have a local guide and friend to show you the best of a town or city.

  12. […] Pistoia revisited […]

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