If you’re looking for something to do in Italy in July, here is an interesting option: About 18 miles (30 km) northwest of Florence is the often-overlooked town of Pistoia. But nestled within the industrial surrounds of the modern city is a lovely medieval heart inside historic 14th-century walls and once a year this place comes alive to the sounds of The Pistoia Blues Festival.
From July 12-15, 2012, each evening in the Piazza Duomo, some of the world’s and Italy’s best jazz musicians play. This year’s line up includes BB King, Paolo Nutini, Goc’t Mule, and John Hiatt & The Combo. There will also be lessons and jam sessions in the Pistoia Blues Clinics during the day.
Tickets are available day by day and cost between 30 and 38 euro depending on the lineup.
July 25th also sees this main square, Piazza del Duomo, come alive to the Giostra dell’Orso or Bear Joust when horsemen attempt to skewer a dummy bear with lances. The whole day is filled with pageantry starting at 10 a.m. and finishing with the bear jousting at 9:30 p.m.
And during the day, when you’re resting from the music, visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Humility which was finished by famous Florentine architect Giorgio Vasari who topped it with an octagonal Dome, the Baptistery, the 13th-century arcaded Ospedale del Ceppo, and the 11th-century San Giovanni Battista al Tempio which was for a while home to the Knights Templar.