15 November 2010


Nineteen minutes by train from Florence (15 km), I arrived to Prato, Italy, to meet a friend a meta' strada (halfway) and see a town I've been curious about for quite some time.

Basilica Cattedrale Di Santo Stefano

I find it hard to imagine, coming from Los Angeles, that Prato, with only 180,000 inhabitants, is Italy's third largest city following Rome and Florence

Fresco on the ceiling inside the Basilica Cattedrale Di Santo Stefano

Prato has its history in textiles.  Today it is the garment district of Florence.  Full of immigrants in the past 60 years and Chinese in particular since the 1980s, it is also Tuscany's official Chinatown.  If you're really desperate to eat Chinese food while in Tuscany, then Prato is the place to find authentic Chinese cuisine.  The "Made in Italy" label on the scarves and many other items you might buy while in Italy are often made by the Chinese in Prato, Italy.

Shadows above the candles

Finocchiona salami

Finocchiona is a Tuscan salami made with fennel seed and one of my all-time favorites.  Its origin is from Prato when allegedly someone stole a salami from the market and hid it in a bushel of finocchio (fennel).  When he later retrieved his salami, he discovered the salami had absorbed the aroma of the fennel. And a new salami was born.

Prato (field under grass, meadow) is a small town with a very old historical center and well worth visiting.  There are several churches to see with a few important pieces of artwork, the textile musuem, a castle, some nice piazze (squares) to pass some leisure time and fare una bella chiacchierata (to have a good chitchat).

And I am always in the mood for a caffe√® macchiato (espresso with a spot of milk).  Don't forget from my recent post, this is also home to the famous Antonio Mattei biscotti.

-- Josslyn
Prato, Italia

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