Planning to be in Tuscany for the annual mega-music fest, Pistoia Blues? Getting swept up in the hype surrounding the concerts—the rush of seeing your favorite performers live, the crowd singalong sessions, the pulse of the venue itself—is always a highlight of any music festival. But this is no Woodstock, and camping out near the stage until the concerts start is a surefire way to miss out on some wonderful opportunities in the city of Pistoia and surroundings. The city is still bustling after a banner year: in 2017 it served as the official capital of Italian culture with loads of initiatives and exhibitions highlighting its heritage. Our advice? Don’t get to the shows too early—instead, get exploring!
Coming to the festival with a group with many interests? Breathe easy: Pistoia is a destination well-suited to a wide range of traveler types. It’s famous for its nursery gardens and plant cultivation, and its vicinity to the Pistoiese Mountains and the charming medieval towns that make it up have secured its popularity with nature lovers. Art and culture, of course, are never in short supply: from the green and white striped Cathedral to world-class literary festivals to impressive sculptural and architectural heritage, the town truly has it all. Finally, if you’re traveling with kids, many of the museums on the main cultural circuit have activities designed with kids and families in mind.