Trading Places in Pistoia
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Historical Markets


Twice-weekly market in piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is the heart of the city and the oldest recorded Roman settlements centred on this square, extending in
the direction of the via Cassia which corresponds to via degli Orafi and can be traced back to the old decuman axis.
Since the municipal administration was first established the square has undergone extensive transformations, determined by the centres of civil and religious power visible here over the course of the centuries, before gradually assuming today’s appearance.
The most representative buildings for the city’s culture and history are gathered here distinctively in the large square: the Town Hall, Cathedral and Belltower, the former Bishop’s Palace, the Baptistery, and the Palace of Justice, now the courthouse. The oldest recorded location for the market, dating back to the 10th century, is the area in front of the Cathedral. In subsequent centuries it gradually extended to the public area in front of the Town Hall (platea comunis), and eventually occupied the whole square.
Initially the market occupied a small and undefined area where just a few traders displayed their goods in sacks, on carts or on improvised stalls.
Over the years, the number of stalls steadily increased and today the Wednesday and Saturday market includes various types of products, extending through the central streets of the city adjacent to piazza del Duomo where it numbers about 100 stalls overall. During the July events linked to Luglio Pistoiese, like the Blues Festival or the Giostra dell’Orso, all the stalls are transferred to the streets of the city centre forming an extensive and uniquely multicoloured market. Thanks to the special features of this market, in 2005 piazza del Duomo was awarded the overall prize for Tuscany dedicated to the region’s traditional markets by the Touring Club Italiano.
 
Daily market in piazza della Sala
The Sala district is traditionally Pistoia’s trading area par excellence, and focuses on the square of the same name.
This name derives from the Longobard period (8th century) when the “Sala”, or curtis domini regis, stood there.
This was the palace of the steward – governor of the city and the king’s representative.
In the Communes period (11th-13th century) the Sala became a focal point for trade and commerce, with the food market and small craftsmen’s shops.
The toponymy of the streets and squares confirms its vocation for trade: via del Cacio, via di Stracceria, sdrucciolo dei Cipollini, via dei Fabbri, via degli Orafi, via del Lastrone – named after the large stone slab on which fish was once sold – and piazza dell’Ortaggio.

In the mid-15th century the square was paved and in 1453 the well (known as “pozzo del Leoncino”) was built in its centre. In the late 16th century piazza dell’Ortaggio was created, increasing the available space for traders. In the 19th century it was equipped with metal benches made by Officine Michelucci, which were replaced with new brick structures in 1937, when it was also re-paved. After the damage caused by bombing in the Second World War
the businesses were housed in a two-storey concrete building in the centre of the square, which was known locally as “il gabbione” (the “cage”). In the late Eighties the square’s original appearance was restored, after restoration and renovation work. The square and main connecting streets are still the focal point for shops and businesses, many of which retain their Medieval appearance with wooden shutters, stone benches outside to display wares and canopy rooves. The Sala represents the city’s typical commercial spirit and today it still comes alive every morning with numerous, colourful fruit and vegetable stalls while the surrounding streets are rich in shops, businesses, cafés and restaurants. Specific types of market are also held here, like the monthly “Zucca Barucca”, dedicated to organic produce and simple craft products. The neighbouring piazza dell’Ortaggio was once the entrance to the Jewish ghetto, mentioned in historical documents since the 18th century. At the centre of this square is a bronze sculpture, Giro del sole by Pistoiese artist Roberto Barni (1996). On Wednesdays and Saturdays, while the market is held in piazza del Duomo, this square hosts a food market where farmers can sell their produce directly. Piazza della Sala received the Touring Club Italiano consuls’ prize for traditional regional markets in 2005.

Twice-weekly market in piazza dello Spirito Santo
The church and Jesuit monastery were built here in the 18th century. The square was enlarged a century later by knocking down a whole block to build the parvis for the church, allocated to the congregation of the priests of Spirito Santo in 1773.
Several old buildings overlook the square and in 1939 Cesare Sighinolfi’s monument to Cardinal Niccolò Forteguerri was transferred here from its previous location in piazza del Duomo.
Due to the square’s proximity to piazza del Duomo and la Sala it was used, at least from the 19th century onwards, as a temporary location for part of the city’s market when the other squares were occupied or undergoing building work.
In the 19th century the ‘chicken market’ was held here while in the 20th century it became the permanent location of the twiceweekly
shoe market.


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