Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Michela (Miky) Ricciarelli. I met Miky quite serendipitously while visiting Florence in spring 2014 and from the moment we met it was impossible not to absolutely love spending time with her!
Even though we had never met, she took the train in from Pistoia and we spent most of a day together. She ushered me to her favorite caffès, showed me some of her favorite shops and we enjoyed lunch at the Mercato Centrale. Her energy, enthusiasm, and deep love for her home is boundless!
Of course we stayed in touch and when a few friends and travelers asked why I didn’t take guests to Tuscany, it was a natural to launch a collaboration with Miky, certified tour guide and shopper/foodie extraordinaire.
Together we have designed a magnificent and unique experience, Let’s DiZcover Tuscany’s Treasures…Together! which includes stays in Florence and, of course, Miky’s nearby home town of Pistoia. I can promise that you’ll LOVE Miky’s Tuscany!
Pistoia was recently designated Italy’s 2017 Capital of Culture – quite an honor and, needless to say, the city’s biggest fan is ecstatic…
Let’s read some of the other reasons why we will enjoy our time in Pistoia…
Why should you visit Pistoia?
Not just because it is my birthplace, of course! ( or maybe…. just for this?)
first of all for its location in Italy
in the second century BC it was chosen by the Romans as a strategical basis between North and South: the actual Duomo square became in fact their “oppidum” or “market town” where to stop and have a rest, eating and drinking to regain strength and then leaving to struggle towards new enemies.
Florence is just 30km from here, Lucca and Pisa and the seaside on the Tyrrhenian Sea just 40/50 minutes driving.
Pistoia is easily reachable from the two Tuscan airports (Firenze and Pisa) and very well connected by high speed train with all the main towns in Italy.
for its beautiful mountains
Abetone is a very renowned village to go to ski in winter time and have long walks and trekking looking for blackberries and wild fruits in summer time and for mushrooms.
for its hills
only in five minutes driving from the city centre you can find hectares of olive groves and vineyards and beautiful landscapes and old forest full chestnuts trees and lovely villas.
for its baths and spa
in Pistoia’s district , you can find one of the best spas of Europe, a natural grotto, where even Giuseppe Verdi enjoyed its beneficial effects, a very big swimming pool with thermal water and a relaxing massage spa.
for its green
yes, Pistoia has been called “the city of green” for all its greenhouses and nurseries plants exported all over the world – tall trees as well as the best varieties of roses – to beautify prestigious villas, gardens and parks in Europe and overseas.
for its prestigious past
it has been an Etruscan city first ( dated back 600- 500 B.C. ) and Roman “oppidum” ( 2nd Century B.C.) and was a free Commune declared with the oldest statute of Italy dated 1117!
an archaeological museum located in main square has exhibits of ruins and old tools from that Age.
for its architecture and art
many beautiful old churches (of different styles from Romanesque period to Baroque ) and the third biggest dome in Italy after Rome and Florence …old palaces, small squares and the De la Robbia newly restored terracotta frieze, simply magnificent!
for its quiet, secure and relaxing atmosphere
Pistoia is very small, very cozy ….it will pamper you !
with a low level of crime my city will show you the real Italian lifestyle of a minor Tuscan location with its uncrowded old narrow streets, but with a great heritage to share and show you.
for its old organs
in some of our churches you can see and hear old organs playing as Pistoia hosts a prestigious organs pipes’ producer starting from the 18th century and still makes cymbals and percussions for the most famous drummers and players in the world.
for its hospitality
from chic four-star hotels to characteristic b&bs and farmhouses, there is a huge choice: wine and extra virgin olive oil tastings are available by local wine estates or become a real Tuscan chef just for a day with a cooking class.
for its museums
Marino Marini’s foundation, the only embroidery museum of Europe, the palace of Pope Clemente IX (yes, we have had a Pope from Pistoia!) Palazzo Fabroni, modern art museum, the archaeological and the city hall to mention just a few (the underground guided path is really interesting, too).
for its zoo
Pistoia can be called “kid friendly “for their zoo (just a few minutes from the city center and immersed in the green hills open all year round), for the Pinocchio theme park in the nearby hamlet of Collodi and for the butterfly park along with the historical, magnificent Villa Garzoni garden.
for its markets and shopping
since the Middle Age the Duomo square has hosted the open air market. At the present, two times per week you can find it in the same location of many centuries before. There are also nice clothes and shoes and in the nearby “La Sala” small square, a colorful market that offers vegetables and fruits everyday as well as lots of stores with many delicatessens for foodies.
furthermore, very nice boutiques with all the most prestigious fashion brands are available in its central streets with a huge choice of top quality items.
for its libraries
the biggest library in Tuscany is the San Giorgio, in a modern setting, just near the train station.
an old one, the Forteguerriana, with precious old books is hosted in a beautiful historical palace just in the heart of the city.
for its movida*!
believe or not in this small town we have a GREAT movida especially on the week-end in the Sala square. It is so full of small cafès, bistrots, wine bars, trattorie, and restaurants that hundreds of young (and not only young) people love to eat and walk here as in a movable feast as Hemingway wrote about Paris.
(*I had to ask Miky the meaning of movida and it means night life!)
Pistoia is not the capital of France, of course, but I think you will enjoy the spirit that you can breath in the air.
Join us in Tuscany!
We would love to design and plan a personalized Tuscany tour just for you and your family or friends… Read more here and then let’s start making your dreams come true!
Read more about, Pistoia, Italy’s 2017 Capital of Culture