Prato, is a city and comune in Tuscany, Italy, the capital of the Province of Prato.

The city is situated at the foot of Monte Retaia (768 m (2,520 ft)), the last peak in the Calvana chain. The lowest altitude in the comune is 32 m (105 ft), near the Cascine di Tavola, and the highest is the peak of Monte Cantagrillo at 818 m (2,684 ft). The Bisenzio River, a tributary of the Arno, flows through it.

Historically, Prato’s economy has been based on the textile industry. The renowned Datini archives are a significant collection of late medieval documents concerning economic and trade history, produced between 1363 and 1410. The Textile Museum also reflects this history.

Prato is also a centre of the slow food movement, with many local specialities, including “cantucci”, a type of biscotti, sold by local speciality bakers.

After the unification of Italy in the 19th century, Prato became a primary industrial centre, especially in the textile sector (Italian historian Emanuele Repetti described it as the “Italian Manchester”), and population grew up to 50,000 in 1901 and to 180,000 in 2001. The town experienced a significant internal immigration. Previously part of the province of Florence, in 1992 Prato became the capital of the eponymous province.

Prato is home to many museums and other cultural monuments, including the Filippo Lippi frescoes in the Cathedral of Santo Stefano, recently restored.
The Cathedral has an external pulpit by Donatello and Michelozzo, built and still used for the display of the cathedral’s famous relic of the Virgin Mary, the Girdle of Thomas
(Sacra Cintola, a cord belt), which had a great reputation in the late Middle Ages and is often shown in Florentine art.
Also of interest is the Teatro Metastasio, the city’s main venue for operas and other theatrical productions, which was built in 1829-1830.

Prato in the heart of Tuscany, near Florence.

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