An Other Park in Town

The picturesque Piazza della Sala turns into a marvellous garden with grass, plants and trees

29 September 2019

UAPC 2019

On September 29, the 2019 edition of ‘An Other Park in Town’ will be celebrated in Pistoia: a highly anticipated event by the inhabitants of Pistoia and also very popular with tourists visiting this delightful town. What is t this event? The title speaks for itself: on the chosen Sunday, Pistoia starts the day with a new green area. The floor of some small squares in the historical center is, in fact, covered by a beautiful mantle of green grass, trees and plants. The incredible thing is how all this springs up just on the night between Saturday and Sunday and how it magically disappears again before Monday morning. To use a modern word, we could say that it is a pop-up park! Magic has anyway nothing to do with it because laying the soft green carpet and arranging the plants is the task of a crowd of professionals who, while everyone sleeps, put up the picturesque setting of this beautiful September event. Moreover, this is one of the most important Italian and international nursery districts. It shouldn’t therefore be a surprise that this event, like other events in Pistoia, focuses on all things green. It's an event that involves everyone: adults, children, people from Pistoia and tourists! Everyone comes together happily in Piazza della Sala in Pistoia for the classic picnic, to sip an aperitif on the grass or simply to laze around in the dwindling sun’s rays. Children instead can take off their shoes and run around barefoot, nowadays simply a unique and rare opportunity! Moreover, during UAPC (the acronym with which for convenience this event is talked about) there are also many collateral events that lighten up the city and make it truly special. Well then, mark the date of September 29 in your diary, that’s the perfect day to visit Pistoia!


The event was started in 2012 and originates from a typical characteristic of Pistoia: its green courtyards, mostly hidden to the passerby by the surrounding walls but still present in the city center. It’s a pity that the beauty of nature, its colors and scents are sealed off by the high plastered walls. It is from here that the idea of bringing all this out even if for only one day a year was born. Thus, every year on a Sunday in mid-September in Pistoia, Piazza della Sala, the adjoining Piazzetta dell'Ortaggio and some nearby areas are covered by more than 1900 square meters of turf. Added to this are real trees and plants that transform the square into a wonderful garden, in a kind of new park in Pistoia. Just take a look at the photos to see how striking the contrast is between the green of the grass and the warm colors of the buildings that make up this beautiful corner of Pistoia.


In Pistoia, ‘La Sala’ square (this is now the main square is known) is truly one of the most ancient and characteristic places in the city. Its name derives from the Lombard term used to refer to the location of the building of the city’s authority, which was located in this part of the city. In the communal era, the center of politic activities moved to Piazza del Duomo while the Sala in Pistoia became the center of trading activities. There were several craft shops and a market. The street names testify to the presence of these activities: Via del Cacio, sdrucciolo dei cipollini, via dei Fabbri, Via degli Orafi, Via del Lastrone (the big stone where fish was sold) and Piazzetta dell’Ortaggio. In Piazza della Sala there is also an ancient well which dates back to 1452: Pozzo del Leoncino, named after the figure of the feline which was added in 1500.


Piazza della Sala square as well as Piazzetta degli Ortaggi in Pistoia still retain their function as a trading center: in fact, there are counters selling fruit and vegetables and several historical shops selling food and typical produce. In recent years la Sala Square has also become the center of nightlife and so many outlets have sprung up: restaurants, pubs and cafes. They all play a fundamental role when the square is transformed into the temporary park of Pistoia: they offer everything you need for a nice picnic on the grass! Local produce and traditional dishes for mouth-watering meals and snacks! The tables and chairs of the outdoor outlets disappear and leave space for the plaids laid on the lawn. What’s better than relaxing on the grass whilst tasting some local specialty or a glass of wine? And we bet that many of you will not resist the temptation to take off your shoes! Let's face it: nothing compares with walking barefoot on the grass and be in touch with it whilst enjoying that wonderful feeling of freedom! If you were looking for ideas to spend a different day in the company of your family, friends or whoever you wish, ‘An Other Park in Town’ is just what you need!


Like with past editions, An Other Park in Town 2019 will have many collateral events that will make everybody happy. Music lovers can enjoy live concerts in Piazza della Sala, Piazzetta dell'Ortaggio, Via dei Fabbri and Piazza dello Spirito Santo. In Piazzetta San Leone a small mock-up farm will be set up where little ones will be able to see some cute animals such as ponies, donkeys, rabbits and geese. Piazza della Sala will also stages kids’ activities: in this case the meeting point is under the big head created by the artist Michele Fabbricatore. You will see, it will not be difficult to locate the large cylinder with a green nose and lush plants as its hair! During UAPC 2019 in Via Cavour a sensory journey will also be set up on the African trails by the Fondazione Raggi di Luce Onlus entitled: ‘put yourself in my shoes’. The program is still being defined so we advise you to visit the website of the event for the latest surprises and for all the details regarding times and locations of all the Piazza della Sala events and in the other areas of the historical center. The website and the Facebook page are where postponements due to bad weather will be announced.

What do you think, have we given you a nice idea for a weekend in September in Tuscany? On Sunday we are waiting for you in Pistoia in the beautiful Piazza della Sala green carpet, but on any other day you can enjoy our fantastic unusual tours in Florence, perfect for discovering new and interesting facets of this wonderful city!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff