Italy
Provincia di Pistoia

Here you’ll find travel reports about Provincia di Pistoia. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

28 travelers at this place:

  • Day289

    Pistoia

    April 11, 2017 in Italy

    Leaving Pisa with fond memories we continued our travels further inland and a little north. Pescia, the first place we'd planned to stay had a section of a car park for camper vans with well marked and signed bays. Unfortunately they were very difficult to find, being covered over by not so well parked cars! It would have been awkward to wait anywhere and there was no guarantee that the owners would return to move the vehicles at any point that day so we somewhat wearily set out to our backup stopover, Pistoia.

    Climbing the hill out of town, we were treated to some beautiful sights of Spring green hills and a valley below. We rose higher and navigated a few switchback bends on the quiet road. Suddenly there was a barrier across the road and beyond it signs of the tarmac slipping down the hill. There was no choice but to turn (taking care not to back onto the steep slopes of the olive grove) and retrace our steps, passing the same few pedestrians we'd seen on the way up, their faces half guilty, half amused.

    As you can imagine, we were relieved to pull into the spacious tarmaced stopover at Pistoia. It looked a bit dirty, there were a few caravans and a camper in bad shape, whose inhabitants seemed to be living there full time, despite the 48hours maximum stay regulations. Our van neighbours were young women, possibly Syrian, with young children, a baby and more on the way. It was lovely to see the children playing. In the evening a couple of them spent about 30 minutes picking up litter and the next morning a municipal street cleaning lorry swept it clean and emptied the bins, making a real difference to the appearance.

    We'd been able to use cycle cycle tracks on our last few city visits but were still very pleasantly surprised the next morning to find an excellent route into this town. What a difference from down south!

    Pistoia had kids everywhere. It seemed a whole school had come out to draw and paint street scenes - it was super to see them outside the classroom! A street stall was selling black pudding, something we hadn't seen for months, so Will was allowed a very small piece. We picked up some bread and dried figs at another stall and made or way out of this pleasant little town to set off towards our next overnight stay.
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  • Day6

    Day 5. Pistoia AM

    August 30, 2017 in Italy

    Well the heavens opened last night, thunder, lightning and hail. It appears there's a change coming. Hopefully cooler weather.
    After purchasing tickets for this afternoon's tour we visited some of the churches. There are lots of them. In the U.K. It's a pub on every corner, here it's a church.
    Pistoia has a reputation for its fine pulpits and so we went to see the two finest examples. The ones in St Andrea and San Giovanni Fuorcivitas.
    We preferred the one in San Giovanni. As you will know they have the symbols on them for Mathew(prayer book), Mark (Lion) ,Luke (ox) and John (eagle).
    The ceilings(wooden) were excellent but sadly the frescoes that once covered the interior walls have all but disappeared.
    The best frescoes we have seen are in the tiny Holy Trinity Chapel, Hrastovlji in Slovenia.
    The churches here have a lot of white and green marble. It must be a Tuscan thing because Sienna Duomo has the same features.
    It was a pleasant morning and in the narrow alleys the temp was bearable.
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  • Day3

    Day 3. Pistoia.

    August 27, 2017 in Italy

    There were two places we wished to see before breakfast.
    To view the biggest sundial in the world inside the Basilica San Petronio. 67 m in length built for the study of the sun's revolutions, studied through a hole created in the dome. Created in 1655. The dates and times of the sun striking the sundial are listed on a poster near the gift office.
    Today it would happen when we were on the train.
    The second visit was to the chords di Santa Maria della Vitae to view the Compianto, a earthenware sculpture composed of seven natural size statues. Unlucky again as the church was closed.
    We settled for a coffee and brioche ciocolata.
    37+ here in Pistoia but the apartment is great and comfortable. Arrived too late to do the shopping but there is pasta and sauce here for us to cook.
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  • Day4

    Day 4. Pistoia.

    August 28, 2017 in Italy

    When checking my savings account last night there were 4 unauthorised transactions made in Kangaroo Point. The bank had sent a new card to Shirley which was taken from the letter box and used. So late last night I was on the phone to Sydney to advise the bank. So first thing we did the shopping.(we have to eat) Then coffee and brioche ciocolata. It is interesting to see how people attack the brioche. Shirl and I are nibblers. We start on the outside and work towards the Nutella centre.
    Into town to print out the card dispute form. The staff at the town hall were great but required passport details before I could use the internet. This necessitated a trip back to our apartment.
    Eventually all was completed and we celebrated with a gelato. Whilst eating an immigrant came up and said he wanted to lick the ice-cream. There was now way Shirl was going to let him lick her gelato. He just wanted one. I told him to order one and I would pay. He went off happily licking his ice-cream not Shirley's
    There was something brewing on the surrounding mountains and it looks like (we hope) that a storm is brewing and the hot weather will go.
    The security on our front door is over the top. That's what we hope and not something we need to be concerned about.
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  • Day6

    Day 5. Pistoia PM.

    August 30, 2017 in Italy

    After lunch we headed off to the Spedale Del Ceppo, a former hospital, now just a blood donor's clinic. The front of the building is decorated with medallions by Della Robbia and Benedetto Buglioni.
    From the 17th century the hospital was home to a medical-surgical school whose clients were the dead from the hospital and the prisons, bisected on a marble slab in the anatomical theatre.
    From here we gained access to the underground tour.
    As the city expanded its wall did also and the tour was along the former river Brana now diverted. Over time roads,walls and buildings were built over the river. It was interesting to learn of the city's history through the foundations.
    There were two former mill wheels. One was used by the blacksmith the other by the miller.
    The hospital's toilets and waste products emptied into the river where the people washed their clothes and was responsible for 2/3rds of the city dying from the Black Plague.
    The excavation of the now dry river bed is an ongoing project, and knowing the Italians, I doubt if it will ever be finished.
    An interesting tour and recommended.
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  • Day6

    Day 6. Domesticity in Pistoia

    August 30, 2017 in Italy

    Today was the day for washing and sorting ourselves out before we head off to Firenze and then the Via Francesco.
    I am busy finding accommodation for the walk. Due to the size and isolation of some of the places it involves a lot of work to choose the right option.
    I have included some photos from yesterday.

  • Day7

    Pistoia, Italy's cultural capital for 2017, has many secrets to reveal, and this morning we found some of its frescoes and ceilings.
    There are traces of frescoes on all the walls of the churches and historical buildings. One can only wonder at what wonderful sight it must have been before time and neglect reduced their appearance.
    The wooden painted ceilings with their enormous beams makes me wonder about their construction. Quite a feat to man handle them into position.
    A very interesting morning which ended with gelato and Shirl jealously guarding hers from the licking ice cream immigrant, should he appear.
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  • Day8

    Day 8. Pistoia

    September 1, 2017 in Italy

    We were surprised this morning as we were able to sight see. The forecast was for rain & thunderstorms last night but not much eventuated. So off we went having our normal coffee and brioche. I have just trained the barista to serve Shirl's coffee as she likes it. An expresso with a little hot water. They say "un americano" . I say no and eventually She got the message.
    Our intention was to visit the Fortress of Santa Barbara first but a pleasant surprise awaited us. The Dominican Library was open. We tried to visit yesterday but it was closed. An enthusiastic young man gave us a personal tour. The library itself was not much to see but we saw some interesting frescoes and sketches. At one time it was the friars intention to have a museum of sketches. These sketches are the artists design for the frescoes which are painted over them. They have technique which paints a coat over the fresco and when it sets they remove it and adhere to a plaster base. The original sketch is revealed underneath. I was allowed to take a photo of one example.
    One corridor in the building had its walls covered in the original sketches.
    Did you know the Dominican's are "The dogs of God". (Domini cane).
    Another coffee and brioche and then we visited St Paul's with its bare interior walls. No frescoes remain.
    Finally we arrived at the Fortress. What a disappointment. A derelict dump.
    A final Pistoia gelato and we headed home with threatening clouds above. They disappeared after several hours. The forecast is for storms tonight with up to 10 deg drop in temp. Fingers crossed.
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  • Day10

    Thursday

    September 14, 2017 in Italy

    14th September
    The first thing we find out this morning is that two San Marino football teams were in the restaurant last night celebrating the start of the football season.
    We set off for Montecatini and decide to keep off the autostrada and drive over the Appenine Mountains as far as possible. It is an interesting drive of around 100 miles climbing round the narrow roads and then descending, there's hardly any traffic but we do get stopped at roadworks a couple of times. We stop for coffee at a village in the mountains. The Hotel Pia looks very nice and there is secure parking, we have a balcony that looks out over a square with a very vigorous fountain. I don't think we'll be sleeping with the balcony doors open tonight!
    The Italian coffee culture is quite complicated and we are determined to understand it so that we actually get what we want. A Cappuccino is equal parts espresso, steamed milk & foamed milk and is usually drunk at breakfast with a pastry. Caffe Latte is espresso with more steamed milk and Less foam and Latte Macchiato is steamed milk 'marked ' with a dash of espresso. All these are drunk in the morning before 11am. If you order a 'caffe' you get an espresso, this is their normal coffee and Caffe Americana is espresso diluted with plenty of hot water. If you just ask for a 'Latte' you get a glass of milk. (Which is what you've asked for)!
    It is a warm evening and we take a short walk into the centre of Montecatini. It is buzzing! We sit outside at a bar we have been to before 'Cucina Toscana'. Pasta, Prosecco, Vino and live music too, we have a really lovely evening.
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  • Day11

    Friday

    September 15, 2017 in Italy

    15th September
    It is a beautiful morning in Montecatini and after breakfast we take a walk around the town. There is an unexpected short shower but it is still warm and it's not long before the sun is back out and it's hotter than ever. We sit at a corner cafe and watch the world go by, people dress very smartly in Montecatini-Terme both in the daytime and the evening, we do some shopping and, of course, have a gelato. The houses and hotels all look stunning, painted in the sienna colours and the shutters are traditionally green. Walking round this morning we came across the hotel where we stayed on our last visit here in 2013. The scrapes on the ceiling of the underground car park are still visible where George got the Navara stuck!! The truck was just too high to get in the car park, fortunately, the hotel manager managed to find us somewhere else to park.
    A lazy day today, although we have been to the laundrette; it has now started raining so we are going to eat in our lovely hotel restaurant tonight.
    We have just had a delicious Italian meal, salad, pasta, steak & potatoes. I couldn't manage a pudding but George had a creme caramel. Then we had some amaretti biscuits with a wine liquor & I had a Grappa in the bar which was delicious but George wasn't keen. La Spezia tomorrow, hope it stops raining.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Provincia di Pistoia, Pistoia

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