Prato is an important city in Tuscany. The city lies at the foot of Mount Retaia and is crossed by the river Bisenzio, tributary of the Arno. The town is bordered by walls that date back to the 14th century, most still exist. Within the walls are beautiful monuments, such as the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Stephen. The Church is built in white and green marble, is one of the most important examples of religious architecture. It was most likely designed in 1317 by Giovanni Pisano, also author of the l crucifix inside the Church and of the masterpiece Madonna della Cintola. Here is kept the relic of the Holy Girdle. Every year, on the occasion of the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, many tourists come to town.
These territories were inhabited since Etruscan times, but the real birth of the city dates back to the 10th century. In the 12th century, it became a free municipality. There was a significant increase in the population, about 15,000 inhabitants and an important urban development, due to the burgeoning industry of wool. To evade the expansionism of Florence, Prato submitted to the lordship of Roberto d’ Angiò, King of Naples. In 1351 Giovanna D ' Angiò sold the city to Florence, under which it remained until the present day.
Prato is famous for its splendid museums like the Museum of Palazzo Pretorio, the Museum dell'Opera del Duomo, the mural painting Museum, the textile Museum, the Museum of Planetary Sciences and many others. There are also many palaces which preserve works of great value. In the Gallery of the Palazzo degli Alberti there are works by Caravaggio, Bartolini, Lippi. In 1653, in the city center, was built the fountain called "little Bacchus". This fountain has become a symbol of the city.
The feast of the Nativity of the Virgin held the 8 September. The celebration is a procession, there are shows with actors and artists, fireworks, music…In spring Prato hosts the International Festival of theatre, and in summer there are often concerts, exhibitions and shows.
Prato is famous for its textile industry. There are many shops where you can buy brand name clothes at discount prices.
In the many restaurants in town you can taste the local dishes. Pasta, pizza, fish ... all accompanied by fine Tuscan wines.
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