Pretty Pistoia sits snugly at the foot of the Apennines. An easy day trip from Pisa, Lucca or Florence, it thoroughly deserved its 2017 status as European City of Culture. A town that has grown well beyond its medieval ramparts, its centro storico is well preserved and stands guardian to striking contemporary art.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays a morning market transforms Pistoia's main square, Piazza del Duomo, as well as its surrounding streets, into a lively sea of blue awnings and jostling shoppers. Otherwise, on Monday to Saturday peruse open-air stalls heaped with seasonal fruit and vegetables on tiny Piazza della Sala.