Pistoia and its secret beauty

This weekend we were in Pistoia always looking for new stories about artisans and territories and cities to explore.

Pistoia is just 30 km from Florence and it is easily reached by train or car. It is also a good start for a visit of other famous surroundings, above all the Health SPA of Montecatini and the towns of Lucca and Pisa.

The main occasion was the visit of the Arts & Crafts fair held in the former Brera factory right outside the train station. Here we made some interesting encounters, between the Tuscan tradition and the emerging youth.

First we encountered the information booth of the Pistoia’s Embroidery Museum with a small exhibition of current and historical works. Then we visited the exhibition organized by Artex, representing Tuscan artisans and artists working between tradition and contemporary art. Among the historic crafts on display there were the Busatti linens that we have already visited in Anghiari in the Arezzo province, the Lucia Boni’s pieces created on a vertical loom, the objects of loom fabrics made by Laura De Cesare and the Commesso Fiorentino works of art created with hard stones inlays by Scarpelli. Among the younger exhibitors we like to mention Valentina Sonnati that works between Pistoia and Restauri Tessili in Pisa dealing with the conservation and restoration of textiles. A young girl with a great passion for the recovery of ancient and historic-artistic interest fabrics.

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After leaving the show we walked towards the old town of Pistoia, which isn’t far and it is accessed through the four doors of the ancient walls that surround it.

We have never been in Pistoia before and we were immediately struck by its beauty. It was a pleasure to stroll through the streets and squares rich of monumental and refined palaces, Romanesque churches and old houses. To get at last to the majestic Piazza del Duomo with its high bell tower, the baptistery and the town halls.

Despite the heterogeneous Saturday morning market occupies a large area of the centre, you still have the feeling of a time that passes slowly. Fabulous is the fruit and vegetable market in the pretty little square della Sala, surrounded by traditional food and wine shops now hard to find in other towns.

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We could not miss a visit to the Embroidery Museum, the only one of its kind in Italy, created to preserve, maintain and exhibit the embroidered cloth production. It is born as a project of the Italian Housewives Movement of Pistoia to carry on the tradition of embroidery. The lady who greeted us was an inspiration for the passion with which she has shown us the collection. There is so much to tell about Pistoia as excellent production centre in the history of the embroidery art. This museum is a gem to discover and exploit, and that’s why the museum is also a centre of research, documentation and teaching embroidery skills and history.

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Pistoia will be Italian Capital of Culture in 2017 and rightly so. It will come out in the open and valued as much as the other beautiful Tuscan cities.

We admired it and we enjoyed the city sights on a beautiful winter day. We will be back to discover more about it and its surroundings!

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