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Prato, photo by FULVIO ZAMPI

The city of Prato is just half an hour outside of Florence and is actually the second largest city in the region.

Prato, internationally renowned for the textile production that has its roots in a time-honored tradition, gather the evolution phases of this activity together in a museum. It is a journey through the historical memories and world of textiles.  The Duomo of Prato is, as in most Italian cities, worth a stop on any tourist itinerary. Due to Prato’s vast wealth in the early modern period and to the proximity to Florence, Prato’s Duomo boasts some important works of art. The Romanesque style church has a straiated marble exterior that shows evidence of the various phases of its of Prato’s most important buildings. An unusual feature is the circular pulpit on an external corner: this is the place from where the city’s most important relic, the Sacra Cintola (sacred belt) of the Virgin Mary is displayed to the public on five feast days per year.

A visit to Prato means hunting down those infamous cobalt-blue bags tied with delicate string and stuffed to the brim with the iconic Italian biscuit, or biscotti, sprinkled with almonds. Biscotti di Prato, also called cantucci, are still being made by the Pandolfini family after three generations in the original shop where Antonio Mattei first cooked up these irresistible treats in 1858 on via Ricasoli, in the heart of the old city.

Photo Credits:Fulvio Zampi

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