The Fortezza Santa Barbara is an old castle in Pistoia. Unfortunately, it is in fairly dilapidated condition. It can only be visited in the morning, free of charge.
Fortezza Santa Barbara Pistoia
The address of the Fortezza Santa Barbara is Piazza della Resistenza – Pistoia (tel. +39 0573371690). Bus: 4. Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday from 08.15 to 13.30. Closed: Mondays, January 1, May 1, December 25. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
The Santa Barbara Fortress is built on the ruins of a medieval castle, which was dedicated to San Barnaba. It was commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici in 1539 to a design by Nanni Unghero. The castle was intended to discourage a revolt by the inhabitants of Pistoia themselves rather than as a defense against attacks from outside the city.
The architect was Giovan Battista Bellucci. The fortress was square in shape.
In the second half of the 16th century Bernardo Buontalenti modified the structure. He adapted the bastions and connected the castle to the city walls.
Inside the fortress were warehouses, military barracks, some gardens and a church.
In the bastion overlooking the city there was a large square tower.
During the entire history of the fortress, it came under siege only once. From 1774, it was not used for military purposes at all and served as a barracks and military prison.
Later it fell into disrepair. Restoration was started in 1970.