Prato sits in the Tuscan province of Italy, approximately 25 kilometres north-west of Florence. The city is home to beautiful cathedrals, palaces, museums and charming streets. The historic centre is filled with cafes selling the city’s famous “biscotti” cookies. Prato is also well known for its textile industry and is home to a collection of fascinating medieval documents named the Datini archives.
The Duomo di Prato is a great place to begin an exploration of the city. The Romanesque style church has an unusual circular pulpit decorated with intricate reliefs. Inside, colourful frescoes and chapels are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Visitors wishing to discover more about Prato’s rich textile heritage will enjoy MuseodelTessuto. Displays include textiles from as early as the third century, and several vintage exhibits will delight fashionistas. Lovers of the Tuscan outdoors can cycle over 53 kilometres of scenic routes around Prato. Historic trails, riverside walks and picturesque nature reserves are all ripe for exploration. Fans of Italian cuisine won’t be disappointed by Prato’s offerings. The city is famed for creating the “biscotti”, a twice baked cookie, traditionally dipped in sweet wine. Alternatively, sample the locally made Mortadella di Prato, a Tuscan cured meat flavoured with coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and seasoning. Prato has a vast Chinese community. To discover the largest Chinatown in Italy, head for Via Pistoiese, a bustling street with an abundance of shops and restaurants.
The historic centre of Prato is easy to access on foot, as most landmarks are within a short stroll of one another. Bus services operate throughout the city and can transport visitors to surrounding areas such as Chinatown. Prato has three railway stations with services operating to Bologna, Lucca, Viareggio and Florence. Alternatively, visitors wishing to tour the Tuscan countryside and coastal resorts may want to hire a car or bicycle. Taxis are available throughout the city.
The hills surrounding Prato have been inhabited since Palaeolithic times. In later years, the city was colonised by the Etruscans, then taken over by the Romans. By the Middle Ages, Prato had a flourishing textile industry which remains to this day. Prato is more than a traditional, historic Tuscan city. It’s rich history and diverse cultural landscape makes for a truly fascinating place to visit.