Pistoia’s Civic Museum of Ancient Art is the city’s first and largest museum. Established in the late 19th century, it opened to the public in 1922 in the town hall, the 14th-century Palazzo degli Anziani, filling its most impressive spaces.
Pistoia’s entire artistic history between the 12th and the 19th centuries is exemplified by over 300 works that include paintings, sculptures and applied-art objects (jewelry, glass, and ceramics) closely linked to the historical, religious, architectural and urban fabric from which they come and which give the collection its local stamp.
It has been arranged chronologically and by artistic movements from Florence and Pistoia. The one exception is the Puccini collection on the top floor, whose separation reflects the fact that it was a single unified collection that arrived at the museum in 1914.
The city’s cultural fortunes in its variable relationship of political dependence on and autonomy from Florence are documented by the important works on display, especially the Florentine and Pistoiese paintings that, over time, gave rise to the original stylistic formulations of Pistoia’s art. The most interesting pieces in the museum are from the 14th-century school, with a large number of gold-ground paintings, and the pictorial themes from the first half of the 16th century. The latter offers numerous altarpieces with the theme of the “Sacra Conversazione”. Florentine 17th- and 18th-century paintings and the 19th-century painting of historical and romantic taste, inspired by the liberal ideologies of the patron, Niccolò Puccini, are also well represented on the third and top floor of the building.
The tour ends on the mezzanine, where the GIOVANNI MICHELUCCI DOCUMENTATION CENTER (Pistoia 1891–Florence 1990) is located. The large number of drawings, models, and transparencies illustrate the work and research of this great architect and urban planner from Pistoia.
The Civic Museum of Ancient Art is a museum of regional importance recognized by the Tuscany Region. Together with the Museum of the Spedale del Ceppo, the Museum of the 20th Century and the Contemporary at Palazzo Fabroni and the Fernando Melani House-Studio, is part of the network of Pistoia’s Civic Museums, four museum units, three of which are entirely municipal and one owned by the Toscana Centro Health Authority, which has entrusted its management to the Municipality of Pistoia. These four important cultural institutes sketch out Pistoia’s historical and artistic path over time, from the Middle Ages to the more recent contemporary art, and encourage and inspire visits to the city and its surrounding areas whose histories are closely related. The four museums are based on the principles of information, participation, easy knowledge access and welcoming inhabitants and tourists.
Piazza del Duomo 1
51100 Pistoia PT