12 Instagrammable places in Prato

Aytan Akhundova18 March 20211436 views13 min. read
12 Instagrammable places in Prato
where is Prato Italy? About 24 kilometers from the center of Florence, and after a 20-minute train ride, you will find yourself in the second-largest city in Tuscany, Prato, with about 190,000 inhabitants, including the second-largest Chinese community in Italy. If you're only here for a day, this is enough to reveal many ways to cross the city's important historical and cultural past with its industrial present. And, of course, eat the famous cookies and discover Prato's Instagrammable places. If we had to give at least one reason to visit this city, it might be because most Americans call it biscotti. Two-layer cookies, which are perfectly dipped in sweet wine or coffee, are called "Biscotto di Prato." Only here you can buy real cookies, famous outside Italy.  Other "must-sees" and "must-dos" Pratoes are less mobile but equally entrenched in history.  So, the attention of the top 12 Instagrammable places Prato and, at the same time, its tourist attractions! For starters, let's figure out how to get from Florence to Prato? As we have already understood, the two Italian cities are very close to each other. Prato is in central Italy, and this location makes it easily accessible by all means of transport. car travel By car: To get to Prato by car from anywhere in Italy is very easy. The city is crossed by the main Italian freeways: Milan-Naples Motorway A1 (also known as Motorway del Sole, the main highway connecting Italy from north to south) and Florence - Pisa Motorway A11 (it runs from east to west in Tuscany and is one of the busiest and important roads in the region). By train: Prato is served by two railway lines, Bologna-Florence and Florence-Lucca, and is therefore well connected to major Italian cities such as Rome, Milan, Florence, Bologna, Venice, and Naples. Both lines pass through Prato Centrale station. The line Florence-Lucca (which continues to Viareggio or Pisa) also stops at two other stations: Prato Porta al Serraglio (closest to the historic center) and Prato Borgonuovo. tramway By bus: Prato is connected to Florence by bus, the service is managed by CAP Autolinee and operates every 15 minutes from 5.45 am to 10.20 pm (direction Prato-Florence) and from 6 am to 11 pm (direction Florence-Prato). The bus starts from the center of Prato, makes many stops, including one near the Center for Contemporary Art and one near the A.Vespucci Airport, and continues to the center of Florence, ending at Santa Maria Novella Central Station. If you arrive by train, head out early and plan to have breakfast in Prato. Your stop will be the Prato Porta al Serraglio station, which works best with this proposed route for beginners in the textile city. As you see, getting from Florence to Prato is easy!

History of Prato

textile industry Like Florence, Prato became rich in early Renaissance banking and trading. What did they trade with? Textiles brought world treasures there. During the Renaissance, Prato wool and silk were known throughout Europe as the best that could be bought. Textiles are still an important part of the Prato economy. The beautiful high school, Istituto Buzzi, is famous for its graduates who, at the age of 18, already specialize in various aspects of textile production and trade. And it is no wonder that the city has one of the few specialized textile museums in Italy, the Tessuto Museum. In the XIV century, Francesco Datini (1335-1410) was the richest man in the city, building a trading empire with agents in most major European cities. Did you change money in currency exchange and realize that money is earned as the exchange rate is set, even if there is supposedly no commission? You can blame (or thank) Datini. He is credited with inventing a bill of exchange, both to lend money and to transfer money in different currencies. His palazzo in the center of Prato is now home to an impressive archive and an international center for the study of historical economics. Well, let's move on to our list!

1. Duomo di Prato - Prato Cathedral

prato cathedral As in most Italian cities, you should stop at any tourist route. Thanks to the great wealth of Prato in the early modern period and its proximity to Florence, the Duomo boasts some important works of art. The Romanesque church has a stratified marble exterior that shows the different stages of its construction. An unusual feature is a circular pulpit on the outer corner: this is the place from which the most significant relic of the city, the Sacra Cintola (Holy Belt) of the Virgin Mary, is exhibited to the public five days a year. The reliefs on the outside of the department were designed by Donatello, and the originals are kept in a nearby museum; they are considered to be the predecessors of Cantoria Donatello (currently in the Museum of the Florentine Opera Duomo). Inside the church, to the left of the entrance opposite the counter facade, there is another unusual feature: here, rather than in the apse, is the most important chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary and her relics. It is decorated with fourteenth-century frescos by Agnolo Gaddi. The frescoes in the high chapel, however, are the recently restored cycle of Filippo Lippi (1465), which tells the stories of St. Stephen and John the Baptist with the masterful use of figures and flowers.

2. Biscotti di Prato

biscuit Travel to Prato means chasing these infamous cobalt blue bags tied with a delicate rope and stuffed to the edges with iconic Italian cookies or biscotti sprinkled with almonds. Biscotti di Prato, also called cantucci, is still produced by the Pandolfini family after three generations in the original store where Antonio Mattei first prepared these irresistible treats in 1858 on Via Ricasoli, in the heart of the old town. Hermann Hesse praised them after visiting Prato in 1901: Prato is a fantastic ancient and solid city, and its biscotti is so famous. They may be known all over the world and are sold in stores all over Tuscany, but there is nothing better than to enter a store named after the Mattea family, but nicknamed "Mattonella," where they were first created, and learn more about the family and the secret recipe, one piece at a time. Dip the crispy cookies, cooked twice in a wood-fired oven, in a Vin Santo glass to soften them or savor them with figs. 

3. Museo del Tessuto

museo del tessuto Museo del tessuto is one of the best places in Prato. For almost 600 years, the Prato economy has been based on the textile industry, so any travel to Prato must include a stop at the Textile Museum through Pucchetti 3. Opened in 1975, its only mission is to teach visitors the importance of local textile production, which began in the twelfth century. Look at how textiles have been transformed over the centuries and the role of Prato in this transformation. The permanent exhibition presents textile products from Italy, Europe, India, China, and America since the III century. The current exhibition is "Vintage Fashion": The irresistible charm of the past, which will last until May 30, gives a visual journey into the world and history of modern fashion trends, the art of reusing clothing of the past to create a fashion phenomenon in the modern world. For more information, please call 0574/611503 or click the website.

4. Mortadella di Prato

mortadella di prato This is not a candidate from the list "Instagrammable places in Prato," but for fans of the photo, food works perfectly! The exotic flavor of the spicy spices lying daily on the cobblestone streets of Prato is the famous Mortadella di Prato, a locally produced salum. This unique Tuscan version of the famous Bologna dried meat is cooked with cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, clove, salt, and pepper, with splashes of Alchermes liqueur (Florentine liqueur, which is usually used in sweets and cakes), giving it a taste that takes you centuries back to the Middle Ages, when it was first masterfully made. Mortadella di Prato was appointed Presidium of Slow Food in 2000 for its unique taste and vintage production methods. Try a few pieces from the fourth generation of butchers and producers at Macelleria & Salumificio Mannori (www.macelleriamannori.it), whose Mortadella di Prato is made according to an ancient recipe refined in the 1800s. Put it on bread and enjoy the lush slices of Prato history

5. Center for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci

center for contemporary art luigi pecci Designed by architect Italo Camverini and built-in 1988, the Pecci Center is the first museum in Tuscany dedicated exclusively to contemporary art. Located a short drive from the old city, it is currently undergoing a significant expansion that will make it the largest center of contemporary art in Tuscany and central Italy. Meanwhile, the Pecci Center continues to offer temporary exhibits. This season, several new exhibitions and performances are expected with international artists such as Salt Le Witt, Jan Fabre, and Julien Opie. There are currently exhibitions dedicated to the artist Paolo Sheggi and the architect Ettore Sottsass, as well as a collective exhibition of figurative painting with works from the 1960s entitled "La Figurazione Inevitabile." Located in Republic Street 277, it is the first attraction you will find when traveling by bus or car from Florence. 

6. Outdoor activities

cycling About 53 km of picturesque cycling routes run through the Prato area, from Poggio a Caiano to Vaiano and Galceti Park to Campi Bisenzio. Enjoy 299 hectares of the protected nature reserve of Cassine di Tavola, once part of the Medici manor house, and Villa Poggio a Caiano, built by Lorenzo de Medici. Take a walk along the paths along the Bisenzio River, looking out for the local wildlife. You may even notice the most elusive: nutria! Along the river and on some roads around the historic center there are special paths. The Pedala bike rental company is located by the river, in Viale Galilei, just behind the Prato Porta al Serraglio railway station. If you prefer to watch rather than do it, enjoy a few hours of excitement at the Stadio Enrico Chersoni, located in Iolo (Prato municipality), to watch a game of rugby. Among Italy's best rugby teams, Prato "I Cavalieri" (www.icavalieri.it) will surely keep you on the edge of your seat.

7. Golf

golf Although this game may not be as popular in Italy as in the United States, golf enthusiasts looking for exciting green courses have a great choice in Tuscany. Not only is this region home to some of the most prestigious courses in central Italy, but Prato itself is one of the best: an 18-hole world-class course designed by legendary American golfer Arnold Palmer. Located near Poggio a Caiano and just 20 minutes from Florence, this elegant golf club and country club also have a restaurant with a magnificent Instagrammable view of greenery. Other services include tennis and soccer courts, a sweepstakes pitch and a serving of greens for training, an outdoor swimming pool, as well as a solarium and spa offering massages and other treatments. 

8. Palazzo Pretorio and Museum

museum Palazzo Pretorio and Museum is one of the best Instagrammable places in Prato. Recently, after 20 years of restoration, one of the most important buildings of the Prato was reopened - Palazzo Pretorio, the old town hall, is now a museum of Palazzo Pretorio. Built between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the palace and museum promise to become one of the most important artistic and cultural centers of the city. Palace halls are decorated with frescoes, images of coats of arms, and stone decor, testifying to the centuries-old history of the building. Especially interesting are the huge halls of the first and second floor of the palace, which have preserved the original frescoes (Bettino of Corsino, 1307 and Pietro and Antonio di Miniato, 1425), and the third floor offers a magnificent Instagrammable view of the city. It is worth paying attention to the original ceilings, built of decorated wooden beams. 

9. Visit the Chinese Quarter

park In 1988, just over 30 Chinese lived in Prato; today, according to official statistics, there are over 15,000 of them. Over the past couple of decades, the face of the city has changed dramatically, as evidenced by the special and very Asian Chinatown Prato, once defined by the Washington Post as the only one of its kind in the world. To find the largest Chinatown in Italy, head to via Pistoiese, a bustling street along which there are Chinese stores for every need: restaurants and stores selling imported goods and products from China, from household goods to technology, and much more. It may be difficult for you to find an Italian speaker and Italian signs, but it is a must-see for anyone who is interested in one of the most fascinating multicultural realities of Tuscany.

10. Santa Maria Delle Carceri

church This Renaissance-style church by Antonio Sangallo, located on the piazza named after it, is more important for its architecture than for the artworks found inside it. It is one of several churches in the region, designed according to the centrally oriented Greek plan of the cross in the second half of the fifteenth century (this church dates back to 1485), which explores the theories of human attitudes to architecture studied by Sangallo, as well as Filippo Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, and Francesco di Giorgio. Other similar churches exist in Cortona in southern Tuscany and Todi in Umbria. The architects believed that the space of this form, based on a combination of circles and squares, is intuitive to man. Look at how you feel about this space and if you think it is more welcoming than the traditional churches in the form of a basilica.

11. Imperial Castle

imperial castle Imperial Castle is one of the best places in Prato. The Imperial Castle is a medieval building built especially for the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Built between 1237 and 1247, the castle offered a fantastic view of the surrounding area and was ideally located as a defensive bastion against invaders. Today the castle is in excellent condition due to its considerable age, and 6 out of 8 original watchtowers are in excellent condition. The entrance to the castle has a striped design, similar to the Prato Cathedral, and in the courtyard, there is still an old well with water. To look into the past of the Prato, this castle is a fantastic place to visit.

12. Lake Bilancino

lake bilancino While Prato offers many historical and interesting sights, the surrounding countryside also offers many opportunities. 30 minutes north of Prato is Lago di Bilancino, a fantastic man-made lake that was once used to relieve any pressure from Florence. This charming natural area has several beaches where you can sunbathe and play ball games, or even dive into the water. In addition, the surrounding area is a paradise for nature lovers, you can see many birds and even turtles! If you are looking for a place to escape from the bustling cities, Lago di Bilancino is the perfect destination! The atmosphere in Prato is simply beautiful, very cozy, and refreshingly relaxed - compared to neighboring Florence. Here you can enjoy nature, a beautiful river that flows through the city and gives it a unique charm. The old town is filled with Instagrammable cobbled streets, beautiful buildings, local stores, and cafes. Soon you will realize that in Prato, it is not about "tourist attractions," but to appreciate and feel surrounded by local Italian culture, in itself an impression that you will keep in your heart for years to come. Get your Italy Schengen visa now and enjoy the nature of Prato. In case you need help on visa matters please don't hesitate to contact us - pickvisa.com for professional service.

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