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Pistoia & Montecatini Terme

The area between Florence, Lucca and Pisa has always been highly sought-after – first by the warring factions who wanted to rule it, and, more recently, by those who love its prime location for a holiday. Montecatini Terme is one of Italy’s premier spa towns, known as much for its stunning Art Nouveau architecture as for the healing properties of its waters, which are thought to have drawn visitors since Etruscan times. Walled Pistoia, meanwhile, is perhaps Tuscany’s most underrated city, set around the yawning Piazza del Duomo, one of Italy’s most impressive squares, with a spectacular belltower clad at the top with zebra-striped marble. This is a great spot for families, with a zoo in Pistoia and the retro Pinocchio Park in nearby Collodi to visit. It’s also the heart of the area’s self-styled “chocolate valley”, renowned for sugary artisan treats, while the forested mountains rising up behind the two cities are good for hiking in summer and even skiing in winter.

Pistoia & Montecatini Terme

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