We found Pistoia, a collected, dare I say quai “intimate” town, far from the city chaos and that you can get around nicely on foot even with children in tow.
Situated halfway between Lucca and Florence, Pistoia is often overlooked in favor of its “famous neighbors“; we, too, had honestly never included it in our itineraries in Tuscany and instead it was a wonderful discovery and absolutely worth going to discover this charming medieval city.
One day is enough to see the major attractions in Pistoia, but if you want to include a visit to the Zoo, you will need two.
Below you will find what to see in Pistoia with children.
What to see in Pistoia with children
❖ Pistoia Zoo or Zoological Garden.
With its 70,000 m2, 250 botanical species and more than 550 animals belonging to endangered species, the Pistoia Zoo is for all intents and purposes a beautiful park where you can spend an entire day with your family.
In addition to the animals, there are many children’s games, information panels, treasure hunts and workshops, all designed to intrigue children and bring them closer to the animal world.
❖ Pistoia Sotterranea
At 650 meters in length, Pistoia Sotterranea is the longest underground circuit in Tuscany.
The tour of Pistoia Sotterranea starts from the Ospedale del Ceppo in Piazza Giovanni XXIII and lasts about 50 minutes.
The tour is guided and winds through the underground where you will discover an unexpected reality: a path under the hospital, just above the river, and the first “university hospital” where students discovered the anatomy of the human body. Strollers can be brought along.
❖ Historic Center of Pistoia
A visit to Pistoia with children could start in Piazza Duomo with the Cathedral of San Zeno and the Campanile, then head to the Baptistery (very similar to the famous Florentine baptistery in Piazza Duomo), the Ospedale del Ceppo, the church of Sant’Andrea, the Piazza della Sala where the city market is held, with the Leoncino well used in the past to dispose of meat processing waste.
You can take a look at the church of San Giovanni Fuorcivitas (with a splendid sculpture by Della Robbia).
Finally, you can take a walk over the walls of the Fortress of Santa Barbara, the ancient fortification of the city of Pistoia. It is a large quadrangular fortress surrounded by garden, made built at the behest of Cosimo Medici.
What to do in Pistoia with children
There are several interesting playgrounds for children in the city. We headed to the Flying Garden on Via Degli Armeni: this is the playground of a kindergarten that offers play works, that is, artistic works that can be used as slides or swings.
We were really curious to see it but, although it was open hours, we found it closed. Too bad.
Also to know that during the opening hours of the kindergarten, the playground is always closed to the public.
If you are lucky enough to find it open (a tall order at this point), admission is free.
Where to sleep in Pistoia with children
❒ Dimora Storica Palazzo Puccini – Charming palace a stone’s throw from the historic center. Possibility of family rooms and excellent breakfast included in the price. Book here.
What to see near Pistoia with children
A must-see with children near Pistoia is the unmissable Pinocchio Park in Collodi, which is about a 30-minute drive from the city.