Guidebook: Pistóia’s Hidden Glory

Getting there: Lufthansa has connecting service (change of plane) from LAX to Florence, the closest international airport to Pistóia, about 40 minutes’ drive east. British Airways and Air France have connecting service from LAX to Pisa, 75 minutes west. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,333.

From either airport, take the A11 Firenze-Mare highway to the Pistóia exit, which is clearly marked.

Telephones: To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 39 (country code for Italy) and the local number.

Where to stay: Villa Vannini, Via Villa, 6, 51030, Piteccio, Pistóia; 0573-42031, fax 0573-42551, Seven rooms and one suite. Doubles from $86, suite $116, including breakfast.

Il Convento, Via San Quirico 33, Pontenuovo; 0573-452652, fax 0573-453578. It has 24 modern rooms and swimming pool in an old monastery. Doubles $89. Breakfast $7.

Where to eat: Deodora, at Villa Vannini. Four-course dinners $34 or $36 with fish courses. Guests staying at least three nights pay $25 or $29 with fish courses.

Trattoria La Volpe e l’Uva, Via Roma 5, Buti; 0587-723350. Same management as the Villa Vannini, same prices. For villa guests, the price of the meal will be added to the hotel bill.

For more information: Italian Government Tourist Board, 12400 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Los Angeles, CA 90025; (310) 820-1898, fax (310) 820-6357,

Ray Moseley