Prato is a small but thriving Tuscan city in Italy, with a beautiful historic centre and a vibrant cultural and economic life. Famous for its textile industry, the city has a population of 180,000 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.
The city is also home to the prestigious Contemporary Art Centre 'Luigi Pecci' and to many theatres, including the highly acclaimed avant-garde Metastasio Theatre.
Prato is well connected by train to Florence (30 mins), Bologna (1 hour), Pisa (1½ hours), Lucca (1 hour), Rome (2 hours), Venice and Milan (3 hours).