Pistoia Sotterranea is the longest underground circuit in Tuscany.
The tour of Pistoia Sotterranea starts in Piazza Giovanni XXIII inside the Ospedale del Ceppo, on whose façade can be seen a beautiful terracotta frieze, the Fregio Robbiano.
The Robbiano Frieze, located just above the gallery, depicts the seven Works of Mercy as enunciated by Matthew in the Gospel, on glazed terracotta panels from the 1500s by Giovanni della Robbia and Benedetto Buglioni.
To see Pistoia underground, one must participate in a guided tour lasting about 50 minutes. The route inside the underground is about 700 meters.
Below you will find all the information for visiting with children.
Pistoia Sotterranea: Ospedale del Ceppo and route
The Ospedale del Ceppo was built in 1277 by two husband and wife to whom, according to legend, the Virgin Mary had appeared. and asked them to build a hospital on the spot where a sprouting stump stood.
The hospital in Pistoia was a major landmark during the plague epidemic of 1300 and became so famous that, in 1600, it housed a prestigious School of Anatomy. Students could attend lectures inside the Anatomical Theater, built a few years later. Today, the Strain Hospital is no longer in operation.
Update April 2023 – The Ospedale del Ceppo is under maintenance so our visit (unfortunately) began directly in the basement.
We follow what used to be the path of the Brana Creek that flowed through the city. The Ospedale del Ceppo was in fact built above the river so that the running water could be used for the needs of the sick and doctors.
The tour allows visitors to walk under a red brick vault while listening to the guide’s explanation and looking at the explanatory panels.
Along the way, you can see openings in the vaults (called butti) through which nurses would throw waste and materials they no longer needed, thinking they would be carried away by the waters.
Jugs and dishes used by patients can still be seen. The river water, polluted from hospital waste, has been the cause of a variety of epidemics in the population.
Along the way, among other things, one encounters an oil mill used at the time for the production of oil and natural medicines.
The exit is at the same access point as on the way out.
The visit to the underground is an unusual but truly fascinating place to include in your visit to Pistoia to observe it from another point of view!
Pistoia Sotterranea with kids and stroller
The dungeons are passable by children without problems as the path is flat and concrete, so not slippery.
In some places the ceiling is very low and you have to crouch down and the lighting inside the tunnels is dim.
Inside there is a constant temperature of 12℃.
You can bring a stroller only if it is a lightweight model (not the carrycot to be clear). There are stairs to go down into the tunnels – and back up again. We closed it and took the baby in our arms in the stairs because she wouldn’t fit.
On the other hand, you cannot use the baby carrier backpack because of the low ceiling in some places.
Where to buy tickets for Pistoia Sotterranea
Tickets to visit Pistoia Sotterranea can be reserved by phone, communicating the day and time of the visit or can be bought directly at the ticket office located. in the atrium of the old hospital, at least ten minutes before the start of the visit.
The cost of the adult ticket is 13.00 euros, for children from 7 to 17 years of age it is 11.00 euros, free under 7.
☛ To schedule the day and time of the visit, you must contact Pistoia Sotterranea at 0573/368023.
Discounts are available if you visit other attractions on the irsapt circuit, but you must remember to keep your ticket and present it to the cashier before purchasing.
Having previously visited the Grotta del Vento, we were given a discount of 2 euros per person.
▶ Perhaps you might be interested in The Pinocchio Park in Collodi.