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 is first known as textile centre of Italy. Queen of fabric production, it’s surrounded by factories that nowadays are only on the outskirts. Once you’re in the town centre, you’ll find a beautiful Duomo as well as large piazzas and delicious food.
After visiting this city, I honestly felt that I could live here. It’s twenty minutes from Florence. It’s quiet but everyone is still dressed incredibly chic. There’s more than one wine bar to choose from and some impressive museums. What is not to like?
If you’re visiting Tuscany, you can easily spend 48 hours in and around Prato. Here’s a list of what I would do. Firstly: pick up the free English USE-IT map made by locals at the Tourist office or in many other places. Or print one here.
In addition to checking out the main Cathedral in Piazza Duomo and the Emperor’s Castle in Piazza Santa Maria delle Carceri, I would suggest visiting these two museums:
1. Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Contemporary Art Centre)
The Centro Pecci has been re-opened in October 2016 after a major remodelling. It’s a refreshingly modern museum especially after you’ve had your fix of middle age and Renaissance art in Florence. Even if you’re not into modern art, it definitely deserves a visit. There’s something for everyone as long as you keep an open mind. Lots of interactive exhibits.
2. Museo del Tessuto (Textile Museum)
This museum is surprisingly fascinating. You’ll find examples of intricate historical clothing, modern designs as well as the process of textile making. I particularly enjoyed learning about all the many things you can use to make cloth. Even bugs! There are examples you can touch of the various finished products of cloth made from different materials. In the centre of the Italian textile industry, this is worth a visit.
There are many restaurants in Prato that offer delicious food. How much can you eat in 48 hours? Check out my article about “The gastronomic specialities of Prato” to find out my recommendations about the local traditional cuisine.
A day in wine country
Heading south of the city: I would suggest you to spend at least an afternoon on the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside. Here you can visit a Medici Villa, gawk at the splendour of rows upon rows of olive groves, and taste hearty wines.
At the tourist office of Prato they’re happy to help you with making appointments at local vineyards. They will also provide you with plenty of maps of the region. Do not miss to visit the tiny villages of Artimino and Carmignano.
Other than wine tasting visit
Probably best to do before you wine taste: you can visit the Museo Archeologico Etrusco di Artimino (Etruscan Archeological Museum of Artimino) and the Museo della Vite e del Vino (Wine Museum of Carmignano). Opening times depend on time of year.
Shopping in town
Prato has many high-quality boutiques. The textile industry’s presence here has certainly made available locally produced classy clothing. You may find yourself salivating at the mannequins they are so well dressed (especially the men’s clothing). The tourism board has a list of boutique and factory outlet shops. If you’re simply looking for a souvenir I would suggest buying a beautiful recycled textile scarf, obviously made in Prato. You can find them in various stores as well as in textile museum shop.
I hope this helps for your 48 hours in Prato. This city is certainly an undiscovered gem.
NOTE: you can download this post from GPSmyCity. The article is accessible offline and includes GPS technology to help you find where you are in Prato.
You can read and see more photos on Ashley’s blog: