Housed in the historical bishop’s seat, the museums display a substantial part of the city of Pistoia’s art. One of the Fondazione Pistoia Musei’s centerpieces, this palace is dedicated to ancient and modern art.
The Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi, located in Piazza del Duomo in Pistoia, was first documented in 1091. Initially built as a fortified residence, in the 12th century it began to look more like a stately home. Among its many features, the building houses the sacristy of San Jacopo, built between 1163 and 1170, where Vanni Fucci committed the theft described by Dante in Canto 24 of Inferno.
By the 16th century the building had acquired a high level of elegance but began to be considered lacking in service rooms, and Bishop Scipione de’ Ricci therefore obtained permission from Peter Leopold, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, to build a new bishop’s palace.
In the decades that followed, it was sold to private individuals and was extensively remodelled, the number of internal levels was increased, and the facades were heavily modified. In 1976, the Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia e Pescia began a complex restoration of the building, which was completed in 1980, recovering many of the structures and the original appearance.
Now owned by the Fondazione Caript, the Palazzo represents one of the Fondazione Pistoia Musei’s high points, dedicated to ancient and modern art.
While the restoration and expansion of the exhibition spaces are still underway, the Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi has been open to the public since July 2023. The route allows you to visit the already restored rooms of the palace and admire some masterpieces of the museum’s collections, including the ‘millefiori’ tapestry, the wall paintings of Giovanni Boldini and the collection of paintings of the florentine seventeenth-century collected by Piero and Elena Bigongiari.
Discover the other exhibition venues of Pistoia Musei