Sunday, November 2, 2008


Today's trip was to the nearby city of Prato. We took the bus, which was quite cheap (2.30 one way) and reasonably fast (~40 minutes). Once there, we walked from the station into town and stopped by the Biscottificio Antonio Mattei, where biscotti (or cantuccini or cantucci, whatever you want to call them) were created 150 years ago. We got a mixed bag of biscotti and brutti buoni, and then walked on. Since most of the sights were closed for the lunch break, and it was approaching lunch time, we went looking for a place to eat.
Prato, in addition to being well known for its textile industry, is also home to the largest Chinese population in Italy, and not having had any Chinese food for quite a while, we went looking for a Chinese restaurant. We wandered away from the center towards the west, and having seen more and more Chinese signs, were assured that we were going in the right direction. Eventually, we were the only non-Chinese left on the street, and we found a restaurant, though without a menu at street level. Still, we were hungry and adventerous, so we went into the Ristorante Ciao, which turned out to be a type of Chinese fondue place (again, we were the only non-Chinese in the place). We got a big pot of broth which sat on a burner in the middle of our table, and ordered various ingredients to go in there: beans, mushrooms, tofu, noodles, shrimp, etc. All in all it was quite good.
After walking back towards the center, we now visited the Duomo, probably the most important site of Prato. In here, we saw several fresco cycles, including the story of the sacred girdle, and magnificent frescoes by Filippo Lippi above the altar. On the outside of the cathedral is a pulpit from which the girdle is shown several times a year, designed by Donatello. From there, we went on to Santa Maria delle Carceri, another church with ceramics by della Robbia, and went through the Cassero, a mediaeval corridor from the Prato castle to the city walls on our way back to the station to take the bus back to Florence.

1 comment:

Working Title said...

that church there totally looks like Lego!