Very few areas in Italy, or in Europe for that matter, which can boast such an important contemporary art as Prato and its surroundings.
A guided tour through the city's outdoor masterpieces is an interesting and unusual way to explore the town. This path leads you from the works of Giò Pomodoro, Mauro Staccioli and Henry Moore to the outdoor museum at Luicciana.
PECCI ARTS CENTRE
Beginning at Prato's Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art, Tuscany's premiere location for the exhibition and promotion of contemporary art, the tour starts with the museum's outdoor sculpture garden which includes Enzo Cucchi's marble La Concha and Matteucci's iron Reflection of the Cosmic Order, to the imposing Broken Column by Anne and Patrick Poirier which has become - along with Moore's arch - one of the symbols of Prato. Also worth noting is Mauro Staccioli's sculpture Prato which serves to symbolically unite the highway entrance to the city with the museum; and Zenith, the ultra-dynamic bronze and travertine marble work of Mimmo Paladino.
The Centre's garden also boasts fountains, including an aluminium work by Albert Hien which gives plastic form to the intellectual love of the Fountain of Youth. Two powerful silver towers of different dimensions, crowned by two plates, one of which pours water into the other. The twin placement of the sculpture brings distant memories of the "Sagrada Damiglia di Gaudi" which, melting into eachother, heralded Christological love.
Heading toward the city centre brings you to Henry Moore's Square Form, the first major work of contemporary art which was commissioned for the city of Prato, located near Piazza San Marco near where the ancient walls opened for the gate to Florence. This work stands out among those, by now numerous, commissioned for this area. Thirty large blocks of marble, personally selected by Moore in the Apuane quarries, which the artist—one of the most important exponents of 20th century art—provides a sense of organic expansion animated by an internal force of the material.
Giò Pomodoro's Isla Nigra e Pablo Neruda located in the city gardens on Via Carlo Marx. Winding through the area around Prato you will find a number of important fountains.
At Montemurlo, in Piazza Libertà, the installation Liberty is Young was decorated by Tosco Andreini.
At the Porta Frascati, you’ll find the ‘Marzocchio’, a steel work created in 1994 by Ben Jacober and Yannik Vu.
In the Cultural Councilor’s Office visitors will want to view Jorio Vivarelli’s ‘Vital Tension’ and an interesting ‘Pietà’ by Vittorio Tavernari.
The Lazzeriniana Library hosts Marcello Guasti’s ‘Rhythm’.
In the gardens of Piazza San Francesco, you’ll discover an image by Salvatore Messina.
Nearby in the Piazza del Comune; in its atrium, art lovers will delight in works by Carlo Zauli and Giuseppe Guargaglini.
In Piazza Duomo, don’t miss viewing Emilio Greco’s ‘Dormitio Virginis; inside the Basilica, there’s an altar by Robert Morris.
Prato province boasts two open-air museums, the Quinto Martini Museum-Park in Seano, which conserves 35 bronze works by the sculptor installed among the hills of Carmignano; and the Open Air Museum at Luicciana, in the small town of Cantagallo.
Outside the city walls in Viale Galilei, you’ll find Vittorio Tavernari’s ‘Anthropomorphous Figure for Elba Island’.