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Pistoia

Pretty Pistoia is often dubbed `Florence in miniature’ for its vivid cultural life, quiet confidence and its concentration of art and architecture. It is this living culture that sets Pistoia apart from other cities of a similar size. Even so, Pistoia is a much-underrated Tuscan city, despite the boost given by its year in the spotlight as Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2017. The town’s historic heart is delightful and contains one of the loveliest main squares in Tuscany. In un-touristy Pistoia expect to have the Romanesque churches and modern art museums to yourself, even if the popular inns are often overflowing. When dusk falls, the lamp-lit shadowy streets of Pistoia still have an authentic medieval atmosphere. Franciscan monks stride along in their brown habits and rope belts, and the stone slabs outside the shops are laid out with goods for sale, just as they were in the Middle Ages.

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