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Creative Heart of Tuscany
January 7, 2018


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THE CREATIVE HEART OF TUSCANY: PISTOIA AND PRATO

Sunday, January 7

Cost: 50€

Discover the roles that the Tuscan cities of Pistoia and Prato have played over the centuries in the design, development, and manufacturing of Italian products. As two of the major towns in Tuscany, the history of Pistoia and Prato is strictly connected to that of Florence. Both cities are rich with medieval and Renaissance history. The cities still possess well-conserved historic centers rich in art, monuments, churches, and palaces, and are known for typical local products. In Pistoia, the production of light industry (furniture, food, footwear, textiles, and mechanical products) has its roots dating back to the 16th century. Prato, the second largest city in Tuscany, has been historically renowned for its textile industry. Prato is also home to the Textile Museum which boasts samples and documents dating from the 5th century to the current day.
 
The city of Pistoia, which claims its origins in the II century B.C. due to the fact that the Roman army needed to make use of a fortified settlement as a logistic base in the war against the Liguri for the conquest of the Appenninica area, it developed rapidly, also thanks to the fact that it was crossed by the via Cassia.
It was on the rise overlooking the city that, in 62 B.C., the rebel Catilina was surrounded by two Roman legions and killed. At the time of the first Barbaric invasions it suffered destruction and consequent depopulation which considerably reduced the urban area; at the end of the V century however, the presence of their own Bishop was documented. Elevated to the rank of King’s City by the Longobardi (who made it Seat of a Gastaldo [Steward] independent of the Duchies of Lucca and Firenze), at the centre of a committee in the Carolingian era, during which most of the Pistoia territory ended up being divided up in a series of possessions already held by certain Lordly dynasties like the Counts Guidi and the Cadolingi, its inhabitants quickly organised themselves in a municipal organisation, as is shown in the first mention of the Consuls of Pistoia, which goes back to 1105, while the oldest written statute is ascribable to 1117. In the XII century the city was in full expansion and enlarged its boundaries with a second surrounding wall. Under the influence of notable commercial instigations, its politics were orientated towards an alliance with Pisa, which is also testified by the artistic activity of Giovanni Pisano, preserved in the church of Sant’Andrea. Pistoia’s importance grew with the expansion of the exchanges and commercial traffic in the Dark Ages, thanks to its position at the point of convergence of the routes to the north of Italy, the Valdarno Inferiore and Firenze.

The second-largest city in Tuscany, after Florence, Prato has been a capital of the thriving Italian wool textile trade for nearly 500 years and is home to the Museo del Tessuto, a leading textiles museum; the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, a modern art museum; and the behemoth Swabian-style castle built by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the 13th century. The city also happens to be the birthplace of biscotti di Prato (more on that later).
The history of Prato has been always closely related to textile, so the museum (Museo del Tessuto) was established here purposefully. The museum tells the story of fabrics from the 15th century and it owns the oldest fabric examples and ancient documents.


Itinerary:
Departure from Florence by public transport to head to the first destination, Pistoia, where a visit and walking tour takes place.
Free time for lunch, then public transport transfer to Prato, where a visit of the city, including guided tour of Museo del Tessuto (Textile museum) will take place. During the day, tasting of local products.

The activity includes:
  • Round trip transportation from Florence by public transport
  • Walking tour and entrance to sites in both locations
  • Guided visit of Museo del Tessuto
  • Tasting of local products
  • Field learning staff
  • Insurance
The activity does not include: 
Whatever is not listed in the "included" paragraph

Learning outcomes:   
  • Assess the importance of textile production in specific Italian areas
  • Identify the historical turning point of textile production in Italy
  • Recognize the artistic styles and construction techniques and materials of the Middle Ages in Tuscany

Payment deadline:
Thu, January 4

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