Main events in Pistoia throughout the year
Beyond being a sweet and characteristic historic town distinguished by its beautiful squares and welcoming streets, Pistoia offers tourists with a variety of events throughout the year.
The Pistoia Blues is the most important event that has made Pistoia famous throughout Italy. Every year during the summer, the most famous rock and blues artists from all over the world are welcomed in Pistoia. This past year, the city was adorned with music for a total of eight days and eight nights with singers and bands alternating throughout. Piazza Duomo, Teatro Bolognini and Teatro Manzoni are the main locations where you will find the most famous artists performing. This past year, I Negramaro opened the festival followed by other famous musicians such as Robert Plant, Morcheeba, Artic Monkeys and many others! If you happen to be in Tuscany in July, be sure to factor this event into your schedule!
Another very important event for the city of Pistoia is the Giostra dell’Orso, a historic competition that takes place every year in Piazza Duomo in July. The origins of this competition dates back to the ancient Palio in 1200 in honor of San Jacopo. The horsemen, each representing one of the four quarters or neighborhoods of the city, race in a vibrant equestrian tournament. If you love these kinds of commemorations, mark your calendar on the 25th of July at 21:30 in Piazza del Duomo. This event happens every year on the same day.
Are you interested in a “green” event? Pistoia can even offer you this! This is the third year that the initiative, Un altro parco in città (UAPC), has occurred with the historic center of Pistoia going green in 2014. This year on Sunday June 8th, Piazza della Sala and Piazzetta degli Ortaggi were covered with grass! As an introduction to the Pistoia Festival this year, the UAPC hosted various eco-friendly events on sustainability, green life and social relations. To enrich the city for these few days, large trees including oak, mulberry, maple and magnolia were brought in and scattered about. This idea was born to highlight the presence of many green courtyards found throughout the city but that are, however, hidden behind the high walls intonacate.
Another event that you will want to be sure to take note of is the Dialoghi Sull’Uomo or Dialogues on Man, that is now in its 5th year. This festival holds meetings, shows and dialogs that will have you falling head first in contemporary anthropology. This past year’s focus (May 23-25, 2014) was “Share the World. For a shared common ecology”.
If you happen to be in the city, don’t forget to go and explore the Pistoia Sotterranea (Underground Pistoia)! Events are often organized around various holidays such as Valentines Day or Mother’s Day. This is a unique occasion to discover the city’s underground and the smallest anatomical amphitheater in the world.
If you are the athletic type, then don’t miss the Pistoia Mini-Marathon in March, which is now running for it’s 27th year. You can choose between either the competitive 20 kilometer race or the non-competitive 10 kilometer race.
If you visit Pistoia during the Christmas holidays, you will find plenty of things to do in the city from Luminarte, which illuminates the historic center with various artistic lights to the Befana (an old lady in Italian tradition and folklore) who comes down the bell tower of the Piazza del Duomo bringing candy and coal to the children, depending on how they behaved that year.
Both day and nightlife in Pistoia is an explosion of energy with many events scattered throughout the calander year: from the Fiera Elettronica (Electronic Festival) and the outdoor celebrations in parks during the summer, to markets selling local goods and exhibitions, to hiking in the woods to concerts hosting local musicians.
Two other very interesting events are POPistoia, which promotes independent music, vinyl, comics and cinema with events held from November to March and the PUF!, Pistoia Underground Festival. Unfortunately, I was unable to find current information about this year’s events on the official website so I hope they will continue this year.
See you in Pistoia!