Postcards from Pistoia that smile: faces and words of some people met in the city and surroundings

Comò Mag.

Stories by the “Creative Curious Travellers 2017” about the city of Pistoia. Thanks to: Giorgio Tesi Group | Discover Pistoia | NATURART | La Sala | FAI Giovani – Pistoia | | Brandini – Pistoia | Comune di Pistoia | Pistoia Italian Capital of Culture 2017.

PISTOIA At Comò Mag. we are used to tell stories through getting in touch with people. We find inspiration in those who dedicate time to their passions. For this reason, during our experience as CCTravellers in Pistoia, we decided to focus on people living the city every day in a curious and creative way. We’ve been immersed for three days in Pistoia’s life and now our drawers are full of new stories to share. We leave you at our journey, made up of faces and words, those of the beautiful people we met.

CCT-Pistoia2017 by ComòMag.


Alessia is a true force of nature: cheerful, beautiful and so busy on her projects, she brights positive vibes all around and we were very impressed. We meet at Parco di Collodi, where she deals with animation management and training agency, since the Park is not only a tourist institution but also a cultural venue, the first foundation in Italy dedicated to childhood. We talked with her about her heading to Milan, where she studied psychology until she arrived in Pinocchio‘s home, which she sees in her present and in her future.


What’s in your drawer?

In my drawer there are many postcards, there is one from Milan with my best friends’ signatures –  they gave it to me when I left Sicily for the first time, there is another one from Catania sent from my nephews and there is also one from the park I mailed to myself, una cartolina di Catania dei miei nipoti e una cartolina del parco che mi sono autoinviata, where above I wrote “Smile, always” because I am an hopeless optimistic, I constantly bring this feature with me at work every day. 

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

The place I’m most attached to is the Villa Garzoni‘s garden, right next door, specifically the bamboo forest, there is a bench, lost in the middle of nowhere: here I reconcile myself with the world, I relax. If I do not need to think, but to unload, I walk through Via della Fiaba: an old mule track linking Collodi to Pescia; It’s a downhill path that makes you get to a waterfall, it’s wonderful.

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

Santiago’s journey, I did 400 km, from León to Finisterre and I did it alone. And I am planning to do it again soon.


Francesco lives, “feels” with his stomach and redirected the rails of life at his own pace. We meet him at La Degna Tana, a well known pub and restaurant he owns and runs in Piazza della Sala, the heart of the small town. After his studies in psychology, he begins to convey his social energies and his desire to share opening new spaces, here’s what he told us on our first night in Pistoia.


What’s in your drawer?

Yeah, a drawer…I would need an entire dresser, instead! However in my world there is passion for sharing experiences in a friendly atmosphere and wanting to improve always, there is definitely the beer I met by taking trips to Prague, Brussels and Munich, cities to which I am tied to not only for work purpose. In my drawer there are all the things I’ve learned everywhere and I’ve brought to Pistoia, which is not the whole world, but it is still my city, to which I am very attached.

Especially the intention is to make it clear to others that you have to jump yourself into what you aim without caring about who is against you, the fear of mistake is healthy, but you do not have to see failures as an obstacle.

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

There are two places of Pistoia I cherish the most, the first is the neighborhood where I grew up – Le Casermette – where I found the friends I can count on today. The second was the Sports hall where I have experienced a lot of intense experiences. Even the city center, where I opened the premises that are part of the La Sala brand, is fundamental to what I am.

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

The trip by car from Santiago de Compostela to the Pyrenees, then I did Zurich, all the north of Germany, Prague, Salzburg. Even though I would like to go to Greenland soon, where in a week you are taught how to build an igloo!


Walking through the streets of Montecatini Terme, rich in melancholy charm for the time being, we fell in love with the liberty-fashioned façade of a villa rising along the pinewood. The door was open and there was a suggestive inner courtyard, used as a bar area. We entered, and in the decadent glow of the 30’s thermal spa called Tamerici, we met Pasquale, a neapolitan boy living in Tuscany, whom from behind the bar told us his story.


What’s in your drawer?

Surely Spazio Hangar cultural association, with whom I work here in Montecatini, for the promotion of musical and artistic events. Then, in my drawer there is a desire to walk barefoot for the rest of my life, without the need for pomp and wealth. There are also the many trips I’ve done around Italy, a bit for pleasure and a bit for work. I never missed the urge to travel and it is the reason that has led me to leave Naples as a young man to experience my life outside of the family reality.

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

I’d say Montecatini Terme, the city I currently live in because I think it is full of magic places that should be rediscovered. It is a city that has many possibilities and, still today, a great potential that remains unexpressed. Of course, his golden age was between the ’30s and’ 50s, when everyone really stop by. I do not hope for a return to the times I believe impossible, but I would like something else to be done to enhance all the beauty there is still.

There are many beautiful places that have been closed and nobody knows. Those who were used to those places, are slowly forgetting about them. What we are doing here in Viale Verdi, at the Terme Tamerici’s Club of the Forestieri (the villa in which we entered the – ndr), goes in this direction: do not let things pass, get ruin and being forget.

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

Certainly the trip I did on my own, at 18, when without speaking a single word of Spanish or English I went to Alicante. That journey has remained in my heart, because being alone pushed me to open myself to others. I have met so many beautiful people and I have made many friends.


In our stay in Pistoia we also had a special guide, which guided us to discover the city’s monuments, squares and museums. Her name is Eleonora, a young architects and vice referents of the FAI Giovani – Pistoia group, with whom she deals with reliving the least-known places in the city, opening the doors of places that even locals forget to have. After an intense tour of the city, we chat a bit to know her better, in front of a good Tuscan crouton.


What’s in your drawer?

First of all, so much valerian and bach flowers, to better face the night! Then, in my drawer, there is a diary, some costume jewelery and some memories of when I was a little girl. I wish there was a one-way ticket to depart, perhaps, to South America or Spain. I want to go away, not because here there is nothing important to me, but because sometimes you simply need to change air!

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

I am tied to the villages of the municipality of Marliana, near the Apennines, between Pistoia and Montecatini. Small towns where there are only ten inhabitants in the winter, and in the summer the villages get crowded with young people and children, to spend the warm months without school with grandparents. I remember with great affection when as a little girl I spent the summer here making friends and having a lot of fun while enjoying our time off of school.

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

The one in Nicaragua, where I spent a dozen days to conclude my thesis. Do you have the imagination of Central America typical of the movies? Is all true! Exposed cables, airplane connections, whole families moving on the tiny Ape Car and then lots of celebrations, for anything. I remember a village party in León, where fireworks were switched on a few meters away from people! A world opposite to ours and absolutely fascinating, where the art of arranging becomes the engine of everything. Then, from a naturalistic point of view, an unparalleled landscape.


The encounter with Hirdilak is wrapped in an atmosphere suspended from the very first moment. In the square in front of the former church of San Biagino, where his first personal painting exhibition was set, there are two armchairs; Wrapped in tranquility, we introduced ourselves to Francesco,  pen name Hirdilak, Giulio, his poet friend, and later to Eleonora, artist’s girl and muse.

Hirdilak seems to come from the Bohemian Paris of the early twentieth century – as he confesses to us in this open-air lounge. We started talking about the works that most impressed us, the influences of Manu Chao’s music, until we came to our questions.


What’s in your drawer?

From my double bottom drawer I’m trying to pull out all the painting, all the art’s tendency, references I put in my paintings. Then in the drawer is the whole history of art, the poems by Leo Ferré, French songwriter of the twentieth century, an anarchist who, together with Tiziano, are my spiritual masters. In my drawer there are also Goya and Camarasa, another Spanish painter who paints with a sensuality that makes you melt down.

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

I feel fine away from the city, outside Pistoia in a small village near an enchanted forest where I do beautiful walks, it’s my shelter. The place is called Fabiana, there are ten houses still inhabited and not even the bar. I often find myself with a childhood friend and we enjoy the scenery after reading a Gozzano’s poem engraved on the wall of a small house.

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

I love traveling and the most interesting trip I did was the one when at 8 years old my parents who took me to Paris, the Louvre, the Gare d’Orsay and bought me a portrait at Montmartre. At that time I did not understand anything, I was scared in front of painting, without knowing that painting would then be my companion and bride. When I left I felt a force within me that I only understood years after painting myself.


Massimo is a gardener, he deals with the production of nursery plants and the selection of those to be shipped throughout the world. We are in one of the nurseries of Giorgio Tesi Group, which has hosted us in our discovery of the Pistoia territory. Massimo is a passionate worker who told us something about himself making a tour of the large and colorful nursery on a caddy.


What’s in your drawer?

Surely the plants, understood as work within the nursery, but also as passion, because without passion this work can not be done since it requires a lot of attention and care. Another interest of mine  is football and in the summer I really enjoy playing ping pong.

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

Piazza della Sala, one of the most characteristic places in the city, where I hang out with friends and my girlfriend during the evenings.

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

The best trip I did was in Bulgaria, Sunny Beach, which it is East Europe’s Ibiza. You can’t imagine, it is the unexpected perfect place if you want to get out of the monotony of the usual goals!


Tommaso was the last meeting of our CCT stay before we leave. He moved in Pistoia one year ago and he is an ice cream maker at Fabbrica del Gelato, the shop he owns and runs in the center of Pistoia. We asked this tall bearded guy to tell us a bit more about himself and his desire to do this job … (and of course we have tried his ice cream that is really something sublime!)


What’s in your drawer?

In my drawer there is the will to make people aware of this:  ice cream is not a beautiful colored mountain behind a showcase, but it is more! Ice cream is milk, cream and sugar. The tastes I propose are seasonal, so – for example – I do not have the strawberry flavor in December. My wish is to direct the public towards a quality product.

What is the place of Pistoia and the area you are most attached to?

I’m still very close to Prato, my roots, but in Pistoia I like the movida that in my town, about 20 km from here, is a bit missing… (although in recent years it’s changing a lot).

What was the most curious and creative travel you did?

The World Youth Day in Spain in 2011, a trip with fifteen other kids … to meet the Pope. It was exciting to arrive in Madrid and meet with all those young people from all over the world.


Thanks Comò Mag. To remind us – with this story – how much the most beautiful thing about the trip is to meet the people in the places we are traveling through! The cities, the places, are made of the people who live there. And the most curious and passionate travelers always and everywhere, inevitably, are similar to each other. Thank you, CCTeam

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