Date of Agreement: 16 March 1993
Current Mayor: Gianni Verdi
Prato , also known as Prato in Toscana is a town, in the Frienze province in the Tuscany region of north central Italy on the Bisenzion River.. just northwest of Florence. Prato, of uncertain origin, became a free commune in the 11th century and prospered as a center of commerce and wool manufacture. Later drawn into the orbit of Florence, it declined in importance after its final subjection by that city in 1350. It was sacked by the Spanish army in 1512 during the campaign to restore the Medici family.
The old Episcopal town is still surrounded by the 14th century buildings. It is dominated by the cathedral, a harmonious fusion of Romanesque and Gothic; it contains works by Filippo Lippi and Andrea della Robbia and a splendid pulpit by Donatello and his partner Michelozzo. Other notable buildings are the Renaissance church of Sta Maria delle Carecci (1485-93) by Giuliano da Sangallo, the Castello dell 'Imperatore and the Palazzo Pretorio, housing the picture gallery. Prato is connected by rail with Florence, Pistoia and Bologna, It is a leading center for wool manufacture and has cement and textile machinery plants.
Pratovecchio, the birthplace of Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), is characterised by ancient streets and typical arcaded piazzas. Of great historical importance is the old Abbey of Santa Maria a Poppiena. Located on the outskirts of the village, it still has its original semicircular apse and beautiful bell tower. The Monastery of San Giovanni Evangelista holds countless works of art, among them are a Coronation of the Virgin by G. Bizzelli, a representative of the last affected generation of Mannerists, and an Assumption by the Master of Pratovecchio, where the Virgin is depicted inside a rayed aureole on a gold background surrounded by heads of cherubim. Other works of art are kept in the Propositura (rectory) del Santissimo Nome di Gesù. The National Park of the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna has its headquarters in the Palazzo Vigiani.