Prato guide

Prato guide
Ultimo aggiornamento: 26 Maggio 2013
Home > Prato Guide > Amidst art and culture

Amidst art and culture

Over the centuries, many famous artists have left their mark on the area, meaning Prato can also claim to be a prestigious city of art which offers numerous artistic itineraries both within and outside its city walls.
Inside the old city centre, well-known and increasingly popular among tourists is the Castello dell'Imperatore, or Emperor's Castle, the Duomo, the Palazzo Pretorio, the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Carceri and the churches of San Francesco and San Domenico - all buildings that house works by great masters such as Agnolo Gaddi, Paolo Uccello, Filippo and Filippino Lippi, Donatello and other famous artists of the fourteenth century and the renaissance.
Also of note are the churches of Sant'Agostino and San Fabiano, the monastery of San Vincenzo, as well as the monastery, oratory and church of San Niccolò.
The "Luigi Pecci" Centre for Contemporary Art organises exhibitions and events by some of the most renowned figures in modern avant-garde. Built by the architect Italo Gamberini and opened in 1988 with the panoramic exhibition "Europa oggi" (Europe Today), it is one of Europe's leading centres of contemporary art and is soon to be extended to accommodate its permanent collection.
Also present is the Textile Museum, which tells the city's textile history and offers visitors an interesting overview of the art of weaving over the centuries, with special attention paid to modern uses. Theatre features highly in cultural life in Prato: an art form which has put the city into the national headlines since the Sixties, thanks to the presence of the Metastasio theatre. Here, artists of the calibre of Oscar-winning Roberto Benigni, undoubtedly one of Prato's most illustrious citizens, studied and took the first steps in their career.

Filippo Lippi

Prato was where Filippo Lippi, one of the leading painters of the Renaissance, spent his most productive years, having been called to the city to decorate the main chapel of the Duomo. An eccentric character, he was appointed in 1456 as chaplain of the convent of Santa Margherita in Prato, where he met and fell in love with the nun Lucrezia Buti, who modelled for many of his paintings. Their love affair prompted Buti to leave the convent and take up residence in the artist's Prato home. It wasn't until 1461 that Pope Pius II, thanks to the intercession of Cosimo de' Medici, released Lippi and Buti from their vows, legitimising their position.

The surroundings of the city, from the green Val di Bisenzio to the Montalbano countryside

The surroundings of the city stand as a testament to Prato's strategic importance of in the development of Tuscany. The hills of Montalbano, between Poggio a Caiano and Carmignano, are home to one of the most beautiful Medici villas in the region and the enchanting village of Artimino. Also immersed in greenery is the Val di Bisenzio, rich in lush vegetation and an almost mountainous landscape in the higher part of the area. Here, the marks left by the passage of Matilde di Canossa (Countess Matilda of Tuscany) or the Counts of Alberti are still visible to this day, not to mention the mountain traditions which still deeply characterise the area.


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Tel. 0574/612.715
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