- Sun, 19/05/2013 - Wed, 22/05/2013
- Mon, 20/05/2013 - Tue, 21/05/2013
- Mon, 27/05/2013 - Wed, 29/05/2013
- Thu, 30/05/2013 - Fri, 31/05/2013
- Mon, 03/06/2013 - Wed, 05/06/2013
Prato is a small Tuscan city, with a beautiful historic centre and a vibrant cultural life. Famous for its textile industry, the city has a population of 190,000 inhabitants, a growing percentage of whom are immigrants from mainland China, the Indian sub-continent, north and west Africa and elsewhere.
Prato has a rich historical and artistic patrimony, including a mid-13th century castle built by the Hohenstaufen Emperors, almost perfectly preserved medieval walls which enclose the ancient city centre, a Romanesque cum Gothic cathedral dedicated to Santo Stefano with an external pulpit by Donatello and Michelozzo, the church of Santa Maria delle Carceri by Giuliano da Sangallo, and the well preserved Palazzo Datini, the late 14th century home of the famous 'Merchant of Prato', Francesco Datini.
Yet to be transformed by mass tourism, Prato provides a perfect environment for immersion in Italian language and culture. Its major sights are predominantly located with the town's medieval walls and in easy walking distance of the Monash Centre.
The Province of Prato embraces some magnificent countryside, which is well worth visiting. South of Prato lie the towns of Artimino, Poggio a Caiano (with its famous Medici Villa), and Carmignano, an area famous for the production of DOC and DOCG wines and extra virgin olive oil. To the north there are the picturesque mountain towns of Vaiano and Vernio. The Prato Tourist Bureau can also provide information on archaeological, walking.