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City break

The city centre lies within the walls and shows the ancient urban settlement of Prato. It is the residential and cultural heart of the city. A visit to the main historical and artistic monuments can start from Piazza del Comune, the true heart of Prato, built at the end of the 13th century at the crossroad of the two medieval streets which divide the historical town from the new quarters. In the square are the Palazzo Comunale (13th century) and the Medieval Palazzo Pretorio, one of the most original public buildings in northern Italy. It houses the homonymic Museum, the treasure chest of the city (art masterpieces from the Late Gothic and Renaissance to the 20th century).
From Piazza del Comune we reach Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral of St. Stephen. This is a splendid example of Romanesque Gothic architecture which houses frescoes by Paolo Uccello, Filippo Lippi and Agnolo Gaddi.
In the nearby Cathedral Museum sacred objects, vestments and archaeological finds can be admired. Emerging from the façade (with its sculptured relief doorway by Andrea della Robbia) is the pulpit by Donatello and Michelozzo (1434-38); originals reliefs now in the Cathedral Museum, used for the Display of the Sacred Belt of the Madonna, whose main celebration is on the 8th of September, during the centuries-old Prato Fair, when the Historical Parade is held. From Piazza del Comune through Via Convenevole we reach the S. Domenico Church, a refined Gothic structure in alberese stone and brick. From Piazza S. Domenico and Via Cesare Guasti we enter via Ser Lapo Mazzei and reach the Datini Palace, a rare example of late 14th century residence frescoed also on the outside, built by the genial Prato merchant Francesco Datini.
From via Cesare Guasti and Piazza del Comune we enter via Ricasoli and reach Piazza S. Francesco and the Church having the same name with the beautiful two-tone facade in the typical alberese and green marble of Prato. Not far from it is Piazza delle Carceri where stand out the Emperor’s Castle, the only example of Swabian architecture in northern and central Italy, and the Basilica di S. Maria delle Carceri, built by Giuliano da San Gallo, with works by A. Della Robbia, B. Buontalenti and stained glass windows by Domenico Ghirlandaio. Near the Castle, along Viale Piave, is the Medieval Cassero. Within a walking distance, Via Puccetti with the Textile Museum, the only museum in Italy devoted to the textile art and  technology. 

Information

  • Involved Municipalities: Prato