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City break in Prato

Do you have little time available but want to enjoy the essence of this city? Then follow us on an exciting itinerary in the beating heart of Prato!

The historic centre of Prato, enclosed in its ancient walls, is the authentic heart of the city.
Let's start from Piazza del Comune, the beating heart of the city, born at the end of the 12th century at the crossroads of the two medieval lines that divide the city into four historic districts. The square is framed by the Town Hall, dating back to the thirteenth century, and by the imposing Palazzo Pretorio, one of the most original medieval structures in Northern Italy, which houses the museum of the same name: a treasure chest of city artworks (works of art from the late Gothic and Renaissance until the twentieth century). Here the monument to Francesco Di Marco Datini (1335-1410), one of the great protagonists of the history of Prato, dominates, next to the Bacchino fountain, a faithful copy of the original basin by Ferdinando Tacca kept in the entrance hall of the Town Hall.

From Piazza del Comune we head towards Piazza del Duomo, where the Cathedral of S. Stefano stands out, a magnificent example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, keeper of a cycle of frescoes by Filippo Lippi and other great masters such as Paolo Uccello and Agnolo Gaddi. Next to the cathedral is the Cathedral Museum, with objects and vestments of sacred art and Etruscan finds. From the Cathedral, the pulpit by Donatello and Michelozzo (1434-38) stands out as a place for the display of the relic of the Sacred Belt of the Madonna, an event which is celebrated 5 times a year, with particular emphasis on 8th of September, during the centuries-old Prato Fair, accompanied by the Historical Parade.

From Piazza del Duomo, by Via Convenevole, we reach the Church of S. Domenico, a Gothic structure in alberese and brick. Continuing on Via Cesare Guasti and then along Via Ser Lapo Mazzei, we reach the Datini Palace, a rare example of a late 14th century residence also frescoed on the outside, residence of the merchant Francesco Datini.
Next to the Datini Palace we find the Alberti Gallery, in the historic building that today houses Banca Intesa, a collection of works from the late Middle Ages to contemporary art.

From via Cesare Guasti, Piazza del Comune and then via Ricasoli, we reach Piazza S. Francesco, where the church of the same name stands, with a magnificent two-tone façade in alberese and serpentine, the green marble of Prato. In the internal cloister, the Migliorati Chapel houses a remarkable cycle of frescoes by Niccolò Gerini.
In the nearby Piazza delle Carceri stand the Emperor's Castle, the only example of Swabian architecture in Central-Northern Italy, and the Basilica of S. Maria delle Carceri, designed by Giuliano da San Gallo, which houses works by Andrea della Robbia, Bernardo Buontalenti and stained glass windows by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Continuing along Viale Piave, we come across the Medieval Keep and, a short distance away, in Via Puccetti, the Textile Museum, unique in Italy for textile art and technology.

Finally, a visit to the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art, an international point of reference in the field of contemporary art, is essential. The Centre is located near the Prato Est motorway exit.

Information note:  except for the Pecci Centre - which can be easily reached by car or bus from the city centre - the itinerary is easily done on foot.

Information

  • Involved Municipalities: Prato