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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 (historic centre) 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, and seemingly every surrounding street into a lively sea of colourful awnings and busy shoppers. Monday to Saturday, peruse open-air stalls heaped with seasonal fruit and vegetables on tiny Piazza della Sala.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Pistoia.