Foot traffic just off piazza Duomo in Prato has dwindled in recent years, affecting businesses and leading to security concerns, but thanks to some enterprising business owners and initiatives by city officials, the area is making a comeback. Pop-Up Lab is the newest effort by the Città di Prato to regenerate life within the medieval city walls. Until January 16, 2018, 21 shops have taken up residence in empty storefronts along via del Serraglio and other streets nearby in an attempt to bring activity back to this little corner of Prato.
Fuori delle Scatole
Fuori delle Scatole serves up sustainable, seasonal and fresh products, and its team has transformed their (shared) space into a true bottega. Shoppers can sift through bags of spices and cereals, pick products off the shelves or even fill empty bottles from home with their detergents on tap.
Lottozero is a “center for textile design, art and exchange with an open lab for textile production, experimentation and research,” where artists, designers and stylists can rejoice in a conducive-to-creativity club made possible by Bolzano natives Tessa and Arianna Moroder. Mini Lottozero’s eclectic merchandise includes hand-painted pillows, garments sewn on request and unique artwork.
LeCù Broken English
Broken English by LeCù offers a myriad of literally translated Italian idioms printed on clothing, bags and stickers, like “There isn’t tripe for cats” (’Un c’è trippa pe’ gatti) and “2 balls” (Du’ palle). LeCù has also teamed up with Odio•design• and Tatiana Mannelli Art to share the space. The graphic designer at Odio can create silkscreen works on the spot, while Tatiana Mannelli’s nostalgic corner will take you back in time, with her illustrations fit for a children’s book.
Il Mondo di Buba
For the super creepy, Il Mondo di Buba has everything to fill your Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired desires. While the products might be on the unsettling side, the owner Massimo is as nice as can be, so don’t be afraid to pop in for a chat about his work.
Alpacas is the epitome of the 0 km movement. Owners Andrea and Greta live by their mission to highlight the tradition of textiles that Prato is known for, breeding alpacas in the hills of Vernio, in the Val di Bisenzio, for the most local of them all. Then there’s La Bottega della Maglieria (pictured), also 0 km in a sense, with just-off-the-loom clothing. And with winter coming (#winteriscoming), Lo Fo Io offers cold-weather clothing, fully in line with the Pratese tradition. Don’t forget your shoes and bags, essential for completing any outfit. Beekweeken and Brand Store have you covered.
Officina dei Sogni | Ph. Marco Badiani
If your kids are a bit shopping-weary, head to the Officina dei Sogni for a range of children’s activities and products, from educational books to workshops and a playground. And since you’re in the area, stop by Città del Sole, especially if you’re looking for some gifts to put under the Christmas tree this year. It’s not technically a Pop-Up, but the toy store is beloved among the Pratesi as the perfect place for buying fun and informative giocattoli.
For those looking to embellish their homes with a touch of the unique, Pop-Up Lab Prato fulfills your needs on a few fronts. Local institution Gilebys is the perfect choice for home delivery, so you don’t have to lift a finger, and L’appartamento (pictured) offers linens and design objects with an eclectic flair. Tu e Mia, meanwhile, brings that shabby chic aesthetic that’s always good to have.