Born as an Etruscan city and soon conquered by the Romans who made it a camp for the stationing of the army committed to containing the Ligurians, Pistoia was in the Middle Ages a fervent Ghibelline center and independent municipality from 1105. The Ghibelline past is easily guessed if they are observed the battlements of the palaces of the center – Palazzo Vescovi above all. In the historic center stands the Baptistery of S. Giovani, an example of Romanesque style, and, not far from it, the Medicean Fortress of S. Barbara. The surroundings of the city have been enriched over the centuries by elegant villas, even in Art Nouveau style, especially outside the fourteenth-century walls.
Nature lovers can enjoy long walks in the Monferrato Protected Natural Area. Montecatini can be reached in a short time and can be a day trip for anyone staying in Pistoia.
Check the city website for information on checkpoints and parking lots at the link: http://pistoia.guidatoscana.it/servizi-online/parcheggi-pistoia.asp. For a visit to Montecatini, the following official rates apply: http://montecatiniparcheggi.com/[BUS_tariffe].cfm
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