Piazza Duomo is the artistic and historical heart and soul of Pistoia. It is lined with Medieval buildings which add to the atmospheric architecture of the square. Pistoia's inhabitants flock here for the weekly market (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) and for leading cultural events, like the traditional Giostra dell’Orso (Joust of the Bear) which is held in piazza Duomo every summer. This joust is a modern twist on the ancient traditional palio race that has been held here since the middle of the twelfth century. Pistoia Blues, one of Italy’s most famous music festivals, is also held right here in piazza Duomo. The piazza is dominated by the bell tower which was constructed in the thirteenth century around a pre-existing Longobard tower. Three floors were added to this original structure. Anyone who climbs its 67 metres and 200 steps is rewarded with a wonderful 360 degree view of the city. Another
If you look around one of the first things that stands out is the Cathedral of San Zeno. It dates back to the beginning of the eleventh century and it was rebuilt in Pisan Romanesque style between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. There are two marble statues of the patron saints of San Zeno and San Jacopo on each side of the church’s façade. There are also two loggias which open on to the marble portico which is decorated with early sixteenth century glazed terracotta work by Andrea della Robbia. Many changes were made to the interior of the church during the Renaissance and Baroque period during the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The church is home to a monument dedicated to cardinal Fonteguerri which was commissioned to Andrea del Verrocchio in 1473. The baptistery, designed by Andrea Pisano, is tucked away on one side of the square. It was completed in the fourteenth century and decorated with stripes of white and green marble. Inside there is a Romanesque baptismal font which dates back to the thirteenth century.