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Prato – Textiles and Pastry Shops

The sweets streets of textile

Top of the range of Made in Italy, the town of Prato is the most important textile district in Italy and one of the most important centers in the world for the production of wool yarns and textiles. 

A thousand-old artisanal tradition that had its origin in the 12th Century, when in the ancient Medieval village not far from Florence, many artisans’ bottegas were flourishing producing cloths, their activities controlled by the corporation of the Arte della Lana (Wool Craft).

The transition from the artisanal manufacturing to the industrial production happened in the second half of the 1800s with the Industrial revolution. The development of the technologies and techniques of the machineries made it possible to achieve a speedier production of a great variety of products with a high fashion connotation, thus allowing Prato a rapid ascent in the field.

Today in Prato it is very active an industry producing textiles for the garment industry, textiles for the interior decoration, yarns for the knitwear industry, textiles/non-textiles and special textiles for industrial uses, knitwear and garments. A city that is synonymous of style and quality and that counts today about 9,000 textile companies, each one specializing in a specific activity.

The Museo del Tessuto di Prato (Museum of Textile) tells the story of this artisanal specialty that has evolved into an industrial dimension. Housed in the former Cimatoria Campolmi, an interesting workshop inside the Medieval walls, the Museo del Tessuto tells the story of the textile art and technology through an interesting collection of textiles of all times and the machineries used to make them.

However, the textile industry it is not the only strong point of Prato. The capital of the Sweet Valley of Tuscany is in fact well known for a top of the line pastry production: from the classic Biscotto di Prato, also known as Cantuccino, to the “brutti boni” (ugly good) almond cookies whose name comes from their wrinkled shape, to the legendary Pesche (Peaches) of Prato, not to mention the “berlingozzo”, a soft cake with an orange and vanilla flavor that dates back to the Renaissance.

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