Pistoia Blues Festival

July 10th, 2014 7:00 PMtoJuly 17th, 2014 7:00 PM

By Erica Capecchi (University of Florence)

Pistoia, a small town rich in art and history about 30 km far from Florence, has been hosting for almost 35 years an important music festival, which generally takes place in the second week of July: the Pistoia Blues Festival. This is a great event and on this occasion, the city is full of people from all over Italy and even from abroad, as well as internationally renowned artists. Right from the beginning, in 1980, the Festival had a great success, as it was the first event to be totally dedicated to Blues music: the first edition is in fact mentioned by fans, because there were “the legend of the Blues” Muddy Waters, and also Fats Domino, B.B. King, Dizzy Gillespie and the Italians Pino Daniele and Roberto Ciotti. Being devoted to Blues genre, however, doesn’t want to be a prerogative to exclude from the Festival the others musical genres: since 1980 in fact it has been ranging from rock to soul, jazz, etc., and among many famous names that, over the years, have performed on stage at Pistoia Blues, we cannot forget personalities such as Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Joe Cocker, David Bowie, Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravitz, Paolo Nutini, Craig David and Skunk Anansie, just to name some of them. Initially, the event didn’t have a good reputation, especially because of some unrests due to the large flow of people, who poured into the city during the days of the event; however after years and thanks to a greater experience, institutions have been able to achieve excellent results, which have made this festival more livable and enjoyable for the community, by appreciating it as it really deserves and making it one of the most important musical events nationwide. You cannot miss the “Pistoia Blues Festival”!

In addition to the great concerts that take place in “Piazza del Duomo” square, the heart of the city, you can also visit the beautiful multi-ethnic market, or stop to eat at the various stalls located throughout the historical city center, or even comfortably sit down at a table in one of the many typical restaurants or shops in the center. Near “Piazza del Duomo” square, the ancient “Piazza della Sala” is the center for night life: an old and charming square dating back to the Lombard age (IX cent.), where daylong the typical vegetable market takes place, instead at night it becomes the “haunt” of young people from Pistoia, but also young people from Prato, Florence, and of those who want to enjoy a pleasant evening outdoors. On the occasion of the Blues Festival, Piazza della Sala makes no exception: it is still the heart of the city and of the event.

To celebrate its 35 years, this year the Pistoia Blues Festival will last seven days (10-17th July) and present an even wider program, based on important protagonists of the musical world: there’ll be in fact Mark Lanegan, with only one Italian date (July 10th ), Robert Plant, the historical voice of Led Zeppelin group (July 11th), Morcheeba (July 13th), the Lumineers (July 15th), Arctic Monkeys (July 17th), and many others. It is expected to be a great event, full of music, scents and colors, that you cannot absolutely miss!

In addition to the Blues Festival, during the summer, in particular in July, Pistoia comes alive with many initiatives: from “la Notte Bianca” (shops night opening) on Thursday, to the “San Jacopo” feast, the Patron Saint of the city, which is celebrated on July 25th, to the famous “Giostra dell’Orso”, the traditional Palio of neighborhoods, which will take place on the evening of July 25th.

Finally, on the occasion of a visit to Pistoia, it’s worth stopping to enjoy the many artistic wonders that the city offers: artistic and cultural itineraries, to be followed to discover this little gem of Tuscany, are multiple and include the various Romanesque churches (in which you can see some masterpieces by artists like Giovanni Pisano), the “San Zeno” Cathedral complex, with its adjacent baptistery, the “Madonna dell’Umiltà” Basilica, with its dome built by Giorgio Vasari, on the model of that of Brunelleschi for “Santa Maria del Fiore” Cathedral in Florence, then the Civic Museum, the “Palazzo dei Vescovi” Museum (which houses some interesting archaeological finds), the “Marino Marini” Foundation, the ancient and  mysterious underground itinerary of the city, which you can enter from the historical complex of “Ceppo” hospital, the “Villa Puccini” park, and many others.


For all information concerning the program of the Pistoia Blues Festival, I recommend you to visit the website: http://www.pistoiablues.com/ .

Instead, for all information related to hospitality, touristic itineraries, attractions and initiatives of the city of Pistoia, please visit the website: http://www.turismo.pistoia.it/ .

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