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Roberto Benigni

Actor's famous early film shot in Prato and his career

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Capezzana, Prato
via Galcianese
Prato became known to the world thanks to an extravagant film produced in 1977, called ‘Berlinguer, ti voglio Bene’.
This cult film, directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci and produced by Gianni Minervini, was a semi-controversial low-budget film starring the up-and-coming star Roberto Benigni, who was soon to become a cinema icon worldwide. It was filmed in just 28 days.
Benigni plays the film’s main character, the young Mario Cioni (a would-be communist, social misfit), touring areas like Vergaio, Iolo and Galciana.
The film proved to be a financial fiasco, but it launched Benigni into stardom, giving him access to television appearances and myriad cabaret performances. It was the only film created in the 1970s that placed the outskirts of Prato on the center stage, as Bertolucci aimed to spotlight the territory’s changing identity.

Those who wish to discover the Via Galcianese, should pass the monumental cemetery ‘Della Misericordia’ and stop at the lovely church of Santa Maria a Capezzana, characterized by a stunning 14th century fresco. Founded in 776, it was once a hostel for travelers. South of Capezzana, you’ll find the ancient hamlet of Vergaio and the small Spartan church of San Marino, the only example of late eighteenth century architecture in the Prato area. In Galciana, don’t miss stopping at the 13th century Church of San Pietro, one of the largest in the area. The apse contains some late fourteenth century works by Antonio Vite, including a beautiful Young Christ surrounded by angels. Inside, you find an interesting temple-style ciborium which is thought to have been produced by the School of Michelozzo or Maso di Bartolomeo. As you continue down the Via Visaiana, after having passed through a wealthy area characterized by palaces and aristocratic villas, you’ll find yourself in the district of Sant’Ippolito which hosts a church by the same name. Despite its nineteenth-century restoration, the church still boasts many of the elements that characterized the original structure.
In the heart of Tuscany, a city of art and prestige
If there is one city that can impress those looking for lesser-known destinations, it’s Prato. Considering how the city is presented in the press, visitors will be surprised to discover an elegant and well-preserved historic city centre, as impressive as the most famous Medieval cities dotting Tuscany. ...