Prato is the smallest province in Tuscany, a landlocked area surrounded by hills and gorgeous countryside – but its capital of the same name is one of the largest Tuscan cities, famous for its production of textiles and woollen fabrics. Prato offers a rich holiday experience, with lots of historic and cultural attractions alongside both relaxing and adventurous outdoor pursuits. Among the province’s delightful and welcoming towns are Carmignano, Montemurlo and Vernio.
To help holidaymakers make the most of this stunning and diverse Tuscan province, HomeAway has a lovely selection of holiday villas in the Prato area. Tuscany is all about the beautiful scenery and these holiday properties enjoy great locations surrounded by fields, vineyards and olive groves. With long, hot summer days, many of the villas have their own swimming pools, and BBQ areas for outdoor dining in the evening. These spacious homes can sleep from four to 14 people, but if needs are for something smaller, there are also Prato area holiday apartments and cottages available.
-Museums: For inquisitive minds, Prato’s museums cover a spectrum of genres including astronomy and art. The Textile Museum inside a former factory celebrates Prato’s standing as a major textile industry centre, from the beginning of the 12th century to the present day. The Planetary Sciences Museum explores the solar system with multimedia and interactive displays, photographs and a collection of meteorites. The Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art displays major pieces from the last three decades.
-Nature and the environment: Prato’s setting provides a rich, natural environment to explore. There are gentle walks along hillside paths at Monteferrato and more arduous treks through the challenging terrain of High Bisenzio Valley. Karst formations can be seen at the Calvana Mountains.
-Historic monuments: The province offers the visitor with a holiday villa in the Prato area a wealth of historic riches to discover. The 13th-century Castello dell'Imperatore with its imposing walls and towers was built for the medieval emperor and King of Sicily Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Prato’s historic centre is also home to the Duomo. Inside are frescoes by the Italian painter Filippo Lippi. There's even more history less than 15 miles away in Pistoia, where more holiday rentals are also available.
-Festivals: Important religious festivals are celebrated throughout the year and are large, well-attended events. At the Ostensione della Sacra Cintola in Prato, the Sacred Belt of the Virgin Mary is exhibited publicly at various times throughout the year – on religious days like Christmas and Easter, but also in May, August and September. Every three years in Comeana there's a re-enactment of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ that involves hundreds of people.
Visitors with a Prato area holiday apartment will be greeted by a warm, temperate climate. The driest and hottest months are July and August when the maximum daily temperatures can reach 32°C. January is the coldest month with the temperature dropping to 1°C, and the wettest month is November.
The nearest airports to the Prato province are in Florence and Pisa. Two railway lines, the Bologna-Firenze and the Firenze-Lucca cross the province, connecting it to major Italian cities such as Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice and Bologna. For drivers, the area is served by two major motorways, the A1 and the A11.