The world in Prato: a weekend between contemporary art and new discoveries

Travel On Art

Stories by the “Creative Curious Travellers 2016” about the city of Prato. Thanks to: Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci | Camera di Commercio di Prato | USE-IT Prato | LeCù | Fonderia Cultart | Biscottificio Antonio Mattei | Cibino Take Away | Gelateria Fior di Sole | Apothéke Cocktail Bar | Dolci Amari | Caffè Vergnano | Camaloon | The GIRA.

PRATO Like all good stories, we could start with “Once upon a time…” but this time we won’t start this way because we immediately want to say the truth: we knew (or maybe better to say “we had heard of”) Prato only for the history of its textile industrial district and few other things, for example, its China Town.

Now, after this outing, we feel more serene and we can tell you “how we learned to know and appreciate Prato” and then “how Prato has revolutionized the way we sleep” – but let’s start from the beginning to not make too much confusion.

One day we have received the email from the CCT–SeeCity‘s community that was inviting us to discover Prato as an art contemporary art city and on the occasion of the reopening of the Centro Pecci. A wonderful opportunity for us who live among exhibitions, galleries, installations and everything that revolves around the art world. So we left heading to a city in which we had never been before and that would have really amazed us.


Genesis: the reopening of the Centro Pecci

The unique opportunity of being able to be present right in the weekend of the reopening of the most important centre for contemporary art in Tuscany has really enthused us. First of all because the Centro Pecci is an institution of the city and the region, and second because in the preview we managed to live an exhibition reality from backstage, including pulleys, cranes, crates, workers and cleaning staff who worked to make everything perfect (or almost) for the official opening of the next day. Seeing some rooms of the museum still under construction and at the same time admiring the works of the exhibition “The end of the world” (in one case, even by walking inside!) was a really interesting and fun experience. This is what we love of contemporary art: interactivity, democracy, the fact that everyone can read, watch, play and touch. An art that makes you think and it moves you. All this was only the genesis of our trip in Prato but for us also the most exciting part.




Chapter 1: the city and the world in Prato

About Prato we have discovered something very important: it contains a good part of the world in just a few square kilometers. We arrived in Piazza Duomo, dominated by the Saint Stephen Cathedral, in a time when everything was closed and we desperately wanted something to eat. In those minutes we immediately realized that Prato is really colourful, of those colours that make you feel in the middle of a melting pot that you do not expect to find in a Tuscan town. This is something that later even Elena of CCT-SeeCity, our host, confirmed when she told us of the various communities that inhabit the city, from Chinese to African, and that integration is still a challenge to win. In short, if you want to feel a little citizens of the world, Prato is an excellent choice and we recommend you to experience the atmosphere of Ravioli Liu restaurant for some Chinese cuisine and Kaldi’s Kaffe that instead proposes the Ethiopian one: food as always unite and at least, seen while sitting at the table, that challenge seems to be won.

Chapter 2: the street art

Prato is a city that offers a lot of interesting street art. We found it out very soon, so we were in search of some murals. First stop: the painting by DEM (2016) on the walls of the ex woolen mill Calamai (Viale Galileo Galilei, 31) representing some characters of the new season of the Metastasio Theatre. Second stop: the “factory with pedals” in the underpass of Via Porta al Serraglio with the work of Yuri Romagnoli (2015), a mural all white and red. Third stop: “Evolution” by Blu (2007), always along an underpass (on the other side of the station Porta al Serraglio, where from the city centre begins the long and tree-lined Viale Galileo Galilei) – a graffiti that needs some maintenance to remain enough visible.


In addition to these three works of true street art, we could also see “40mt and everything in between”: the site specific work by Toxic in the Farsettiarte Gallery (just behind the Centro Pecci), where the American street artist has made 40 meters of graffiti on a canvas of jeans (unfortunately visible only until the 29th October 2016).


Chapter 3: and here comes the fun!

We have reached the last part: the one that has revolutionized the way we sleep. Along with Elena, we were invited by sisters Tessa and Arianna Moroder to a sleep concert that would have taken place in the middle of an art exhibition (curated by Alessandra Tempesti and with works by 13 Italian and international artists, very different works but linked by the textile theme). The event was organized to inaugurate Lottozero: a new research centre for textile, workshop and exhibition space. Until then we were unaware of the “sleep concert” meaning. A friend had told us: “basically, they shoot you the trumpet in your ears while you sleep.” In fact, it is much softer as experience. And, in short, in our case it went like this: there were provided a mattress (part of a decomposable art work), a pillow and a blanket cut from a roll of textile; 130 guests were accommodated and then from about midnight until eight in the morning some musicians took turns for a series of different live sets. While they were playing, the audience was sleeping and dreaming, more or less peacefully. All very suggestive apart from the guy who snored like a bulldozer, the music box next to our ears and a back pain: so at six o’clock we were already awake and we rifocillated us with a breakfast at the Bar Pasticceria Impero. Unlike us, Elena slept like a log, and when she woke up she filmed this moment, part of the last performances by the Japanese artist Tomoko Sauvage (which creates really ethereal sounds using water-filled porcelain bowls and hydrophones microphones):

Our epilogue?

We want to say this: Prato is an experience to live more than a city to see, a land in turmoil which – we believe – will be able more and more to amaze its visitors!

P.S. Do not forget to stop by the Biscottificio Mattei 😉

Inaugurazione del Centro Pecci: alla scoperta di Prato con CCT-SeeCity


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