Italian curiosities: did you know Pistoia was the first medieval “comune”?

May 11, 2022 248

Of all the provinces of Tuscany, Pistoia is, perhaps, the one we are less familiar with. Yet, it was Italy’s Capital of Culture only a handful of years ago (it was 2017), and it has one of the best-preserved and maintained medieval town centers in the country. But Pistoia finds its roots further back than the Middle Ages if it’s true that Sallustius mentioned it when discussing the death of Catilina, in 62 BC.

The Romans called it Pistoria or Oppidum Pistoriense, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, but they weren’t the first to settle in the area, which was inhabited by the Etruscans and also by the Ligurians. In fact, this is a relatively recent discovery, because it was only after the finding, in 1972, of an Etruscan funerary stone dating between the 6th and the 5th century BC, that the presence of the mysterious, ancient inhabitants of Tuscany in the area was confirmed.

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