Prato is a city looking towards the future. Innovation is a mental attitude, a readiness to find simple solutions to complex problems and a reliance on flexibility. The source of ideas for fashion collections, Prato is a clothing textile centre known across the globe predominately for its carded production cycle, which is based around reuse. It’s also Europe’s ready-to-wear fashion capital. Its Polo Universitario is home to 30 research and business service laboratories. Restored and regenerated urban spaces welcome new businesses, traditional knowledge and the artisan crafts that are declining under the digital wave. The city is changing its appearance with the redevelopment of entire urban areas reinterpreted as creative districts and the creation of a large urban park in the medieval old town, whose design has been the scope of numerous internationally important studies, making Prato one of the cities of the future.
The creativity of Prato is fully realised in fashion and the art world from which it draws inspiration. The clearest expression of this inseparable pair is represented in the two main museums: The Museo del Tessuto, an expression of the city’s textile history located in the "Cimatoria Campolmi e C", a factory that has become a symbol of the city’s production history and a wonderful example of industrial archaeology, and the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, designed by architect Italo Gamberini and enlarged and renovated by Maurice Nio which houses about 4,000 square metres of exhibition halls, an archive and a dedicated library.
Wander through the old town and you can’t miss the Castello dell’Imperatore, an imposing building and the only example of Swabian architecture in Central-northern Italy. The Duomo too won’t go unnoticed with its splendid frescoes by Filippo Lippi and Agnolo Gaddi, as well as the venerated relic, the Sacra Cintola della Madonna. The cathedral’s Pulpito di Donatello e Michelozzo is used several times a year for the exhibition of the relic and in particular on September 8 (Nativity of the Virgin) when the city celebrates with a lavish medieval re-enactment, the Corteggio. Much can also be said about the imposing Palazzo Pretorio, a medieval building and today home to the eponymous museum, which displays, among many great works, those by Donatello, Filippo and Filippino Lippi.
Prato is also a gourmet city with many cosy restaurants and specialty shops. Desserts are an art form here and our confectioners are true artists who have won international awards for their torta dei sette veli, pesche di Prato and the one-of-a-kind biscotti di Prato, which are made with almonds. Even our bread is a must, especially when enjoyed with our unique mortadella di Prato, a spicy cold cut.