Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi

Top choice in Pistoia

The bishops' palace, wedged next to the cathedral, provides a fascinating tour of Pistoia's urban history, ranging from touchable scale models of architectural gems such as the cathedral and the baptistry on the 1st floor to archaeological treasures in the basement. The indisputable highlight is L'Arazzo Mille Fiori (Thousand Flowers Tapestry; 1530), a rare, late-Gothic tapestry originally laid in front of the main altar in the cathedral on Good Friday, upon which a crucified Christ would be venerated.

Subsequently known as the 'tapestry of the Adoration', the enchanting cloth is a dazzling mirage of mythical unicorns, dogs and birds prancing through flower-filled meadows.

Visits to the bishops' palace are strictly by guided tour, which depart at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.15pm & 2.45pm weekdays and 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.15pm, 3pm and 4.30pm on weekends.

A combination ticket covering all four museums managed by the Fondazione Pistoia Musei costs €15.