It’s not easy living in the shadow of the cradle of the Renaissance. Located just 20 minutes from Florence, the city of Prato is often overlooked by tourists to the central part of Tuscany.
And with good reason: the most sought-after artistic and cultural works are found in Florence; visitors looking for the typical Tuscan countryside are likely to enjoy it most around the perfectly preserved medieval cities of Siena or Lucca; while those seeking the seaside head to the Versilia and the Maremma. They never make it to Prato (or even Pistoia).
So, why visit Prato, one of Tuscany’s most underestimated cities?
Aside from its illustrious history in the textile industry and its many artistic and cultural treasures that go largely unnoticed by the masses, Prato is a great town in which to explore an authentic side of Tuscany.
It offers less of the hustle and bustle of Florence (and fewer tourists), yet it is by no means less entertaining.There are ample opportunities to enjoy sports and outdoor, rural escapes, contemporary art and unique museums, a lively Asian community, as well as the Virgin Mary’s sacred belt and Donatello’s pulpit! (See pages 16 and 17 for more.)
All of these factors make Prato a great place to study, attracting universities from across the world, like Monash University and the University of New Haven, both of which chose Prato over Florence for their Italian campuses because of its authenticity.
In this issue, we show a different side to Prato, revealing a city that has much to offer.
Spend some time exploring the city’s under-discovered art scene and its little-known traditional culinary specialties, modern and Renaissance architecture, and interesting multicultural Asian community: you’ll soon realize that this Tuscan city deserves a first, even a second or third, look.
Photo by Alessandro Nerli