Prato - city of the modern textile industry

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The city of Prato is located in the heart of Tuscany. The city with around 194.000 inhabitants is the capital of the city of the same name Prato Province and is located approximately 20 kilometers northwest of Florence.

It is located directly on the Bisenzio River, with the Ombrone Pistoiese River flowing through the town.

The neighboring communities of the city include Agliana, Calenzano but also Campi Bisenzio and Carmignano as well as Montemurlo, Poggio a Caiano and Quarrata and Vaiano.

Districts of Prato

The city itself consists of several districts that form five political administrative units. In the north is the district of Circoscrizione Nord. There are also the districts of Cerreto, Chiesanuova, as well as Coiano, Figline di Prato, Galcetello and Galceti. There are also the districts Gli Abatoni and I Ciliani, Le Fornaci and Le Lastre as well as Le Sacca and San Martino, but also Santa Lucia and Villa Fiorita and a number of other districts.

points of interest & sights

Characteristic of the buildings that are located in the city of Prato, were made from local building materials. Above all, different types of marble were used. These are the types of marble of the white Alberese and the green Serpentino as well as Monteferrato.

Sacred buildings and bridges

Prato also has a number of sacred buildings, such as the Santa Maria delle Carceri. The sacred buildings of Santa Maria della Pietà, Santa Maria del Soccorso and Santa Cristina a Pimonte are also located in the urban area.

The sacred building that outshines all others is the Prato Cathedral. This is consecrated to Saint Stephen. Inside the cathedral there is a cycle of frescoes depicting scenes from the life of the saint. One of the city's attractions is its landmark, the Ponte Mercatale bridge over the Bisenzio river.

Museums

Textile Museum Museo the Tessuto

One of the city's attractions is the Museo die Tessuto. You can see here for lovers of fabrics and textiles that shaped the region of the city. The museum is housed in a factory building from the 19th century.

The visitor is granted a glimpse into the historical walls History the textile industry. Among other things, looms from different centuries can be admired here.

Museo dell'Opera the Duomo

The Museo dell'Opera die Duomo is also located in the city. The exhibits that can be admired there include a number of sacred objects and a number of paintings.

Economy

Many companies in the Italian fabric industry have been based in the Prato region for a very long time. Many of these companies were lost during the structural change in the region. Some of these companies were taken over by the Chinese.

Of the approximately 190.000 inhabitants of the city, around 50.000 are of Chinese origin. In Prato alone there are around 5.000 Chinese companies belonging to the textile industry.

Over the decades, it has also established its own district - Chinatown.

History and development

Prato was first mentioned in a document in the 10th century and was probably already settled at the time of the Etruscans. The place used to be an important wool emporium.

One of the most famous wool producers in the late Middle Ages was Francesco Datini. When he died in 1410 he left behind the largest merchant archive of the Middle Ages. Prato has long been known as the “rag center of Europe”.

Within Italy, this area in Tuscany is one of the most important immigration areas for Italians who come from the south. It is ultimately thanks to the regional migration policy that the region has grown since the middle of the 19th century and became an industrial city in the field of fabric production.

In its center, the city remained historic and retained its medieval look. The historic center of the city is still surrounded by a medieval wall to this day. This is in the form of an irregular hexagon.

The medieval center is still within these walls. Within the city walls there are churches and also palaces.

In Prato there is also the imperial castle of the Staufer Emperor Friedrich II, once built from the middle of the 13th century. The historic center of the city is now a pedestrian zone. Thus, this Tuscan city is now a very popular and, above all, lively shopping city.

Last updated: 06.02.2024

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