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Cathedral of S. Stefano

The Cathedral of S. Stefano is located on the large P.za del Duomo and is a splendid example of Prato's Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The use of two-colour is marked: light alberese and green marble (serpentine), typical materials of Prato's architecture until the fifteenth century. The current facade, built between 1385 and 1457, was superimposed on the original Romanesque one by Guidetto da Como, leaving between the two a cavity that, through stairs and a corridor above the portal, still now gives access to the pulpit by Donatello and Michelozzo (the originals are kept in the Cathedral Museum), used for the display of the Sacred Belt of the Madonna.
The 8th September is the solemn display, when also the Historical Parade takes place. The central portal is surmounted by a fine glazed terracotta lunette with the Madonna with Child and Saints Stephen and Lawrence, crowned by a series of cherubs by Andrea della Robbia (1489). Particularly original is the bell tower of the early thirteenth century, completed around 1356 with the addition of a bell cell with Gothic three-mullioned window. Inside the Duomo are preserved important frescoes by Paolo Uccello (Chapel of the Assumption), Filippo Lippi in the Cappella Maggiore, the tabernacle of the Madonna dell'Olivo by the Da Maiano brothers (in the right-hand transept) and works by Robert Morris. The Chapel of the Sacred Belt restored by Agnolo Gaddi, preserves the precious Marian relic. The chapel is protected by a wonderful bronze gate inspired by naturalistic and plant motifs. Noteworthy is the internal pulpit located in the central nave, made of snow-white marble, chalice shaped made by fine Renaissance artists among whom Pasquino da Montepulciano and Mino da Fiesole (1469-73).

Filippo Lippi's Frescoes

The Stories of St. Stephen and St. John the Baptist are a cycle of frescoes in the Main Chapel of the Cathedral of Prato, painted by Filippo Lippi and aid between 1452 and 1465. The work of art has a central role in the artistic career of Lippi and in the evolution of Renaissance art in general.
On the left, looking from the nave towards the high altar, one can admire the Stories of St. Stephen, to whom the church is dedicated as well as patron saint of the city; on the right, those of St. John the Baptist, protector of the nearby city of Florence. The stories of the two saints are read from top to bottom and have specular references in each other. Below, on the left, is the St. Stephen's Funeral, set in an early Christian church, while on the opposite wall, a spectacular hall hosts the Banquet of Herod, with the elegant Dance of Salomè, and the delivery of the head of the Baptist to Herodias. On the back wall, sideways to the glass window also designed by Lippi, there are two Saints in the painted niches and two scenes complementary to the stories.   

A single ticket allows to visit the Main Chapel of the Cathedral with the frescoes by Lippi and the Cathedral Museum.

Info: https://www.museidiocesanidiprato.it/it/filippolippi/

Information

  • Piazza del Duomo Prato (PO)

  • Ticket: free entrance

  • Accessibility for disabled: yes

  • Phone: 0574 26234