IL BATTISTERO, A HISTORICAL RESIDENCE
Residenza Il Battistero opened for hospitality in September 2017 and comprises 12 rooms, with a 40-square-metre suite in the ancient tower. The Osteria restaurant, bakery and bar are all on the ground floor. The historical residence ‘Il Battistero’ and annexed ‘Osteria Bonodinulla’, located in the heart of the city of Pistoia, are also home to an unexpected treat, for this was the birthplace of one of the historic companies of the Pistoia area, the Moka J-Enne Roasting Company, back in the late 1800s. Few traces of its ancient story remain, but nostalgia for this high quality product re-emerges strongly when dining in the subterranean dining room, the only original testimony left intact of its ancient medieval past. Today, the Baptistry has been completely transformed, the result of a careful restoration project catering to visitors experiencing Pistoia for both tourism and business purposes.
THE HISTORY OF IL BATTISTERO
The Baptistry and annexed Osteria Bonodinulla were originally three medieval tower houses built in the 13th-century. They are situated in the oldest part of the city of Pistoia, between the sacred Baptistery of San Giovanni and the more worldly Piazza della Sala, where the market is held in the centre of the city. Located on Via del Lastrone, which retraces the axis of the ancient Roman city, the building has always been at the heart of the city's commercial area. The very name of the street where it stands recalls the ‘lastrone’ or large stone slabs where food, especially fish and meat, were displayed for sale, and indeed this tradition from the past is still part of the Osteria's identity and can be seen as you enter the establishment.
THE MOKA J-ENNE ROASTING COMPANY
It was at the end of the 19th century that our story really began. Apprentice shop boy Jacopo Niccolai succeeded in acquiring the grocery store located on the ground floor of the building from the widow of his employer. He decided to specialise in roasting coffee, a commodity that was becoming fashionable on the tables of the well-to-do during that period. The business prospered so quickly that he was gradually able to purchase the entire complex of the three tower houses standing side by side in the early 1900s, subsequently adding apartments, warehouses and commercial activities. ‘Torrefazione Moka J-Enne’ was officially established and is still one of the most prominent historic businesses in the entire Pistoia area today.
The property remained intact, but the rapidly growing business was moved outside the city centre to its current location. The entire complex of the tower houses was duly closed in the 1960s and used instead as a warehouse. The apartments were vacated and remained uninhabited. It was only in 2012 that the current descendant of the Niccolai family and owner of the company, Roberto Cappellini, decided to bring the building back to life and restore it to its former glory. He was the mastermind behind restoration work that was careful to safeguard and enhance all the historical elements, while introducing modern touches and the most up-to-date practices in terms of construction. As a consequence, Osteria Bonodinulla came into being in 2015, and occupies the entire ground floor and basement space, followed in September 2017 by Il Battistero Historical Residence, with 13 rooms arranged over the three floors of the ancient tower houses. Guests can virtually touch the historic Baptistery with one finger, and the whole city can be admired and embraced with our stunning and unique view over the city’s rooftops.
FACILITIES AND SERVICES AT IL BATTISTERO
The different room categories, which offer unique views of both Piazza della Sala and the suggestive Baptistry, all have large double beds. The suites, which include a living room with a sofa bed and two televisions, can accommodate up to 4 people. The King Deluxe Suite is unique, romantic and extremely evocative. It is located at the top of one of the 3 tower houses, with extensive windows spanning the majority of the suite's space and a private balcony from which you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the entire city and the surrounding area. Each room is furnished in a modern and essential style, with colours recalling the original early 20th-century floor decorations. The modern amenities include spacious showers, a desk, private internet connection, a flat-screen smart TV, adjustable air conditioning, a complimentary coffee station, 2 courtesy bottles of water per day, universal and USB power sockets, a hairdryer and toiletries. Breakfast is served in the Bar and the Osteria area (both are directly connected to the rooms via a convenient internal lift). Fresh bread, ‘schiacciata’ (flat bread) and pizza bread are baked every morning in the in-house oven. The cakes and pastries are homemade and produced by the Giuntini Bakery in Quarrata.
The Osteria serves traditional Tuscan dishes every day for lunch and dinner, using seasonal ingredients sourced from various local shops in the area and, most particularly, from the nearby Market Square. The brand of coffee is, however, unerringly the same. We exclusively use the original coffee that Torrefazione Moka J-Enne has been roasting since 1878 and which has filled this historical place in Via del Lastrone, on which Il Battistero stands, with its aroma for two centuries, at the heart of what is the oldest and most authentic part of Pistoia.