Prato is a city of almost 190,000 residents in Tuscany, Italy. It lies just 15 miles to the northwest of Florence. The city is famous for its textile industry and is known as “la Manchester della Toscana” after the English city that so dominated the British textile industry in the 19th century. Expats living in Prato can enjoy the famous local delicacy of cantuccio, an almond flavored biscuit as well as the local sights. Prato is a handsome and historic city and sights include the Cathedral of Santo Stefano, also known as the Duomo of Prato, built from striking green and white stone in the 1400s. The Santa Maria delle Carceri, meanwhile, is one of the earliest churches to feature the Greek cross layout. New expats in Prato can find out much more about their adopted city by consulting other international residents on the discussion groups and forums on InterNations, the global online community of expatriates.
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Prato is well served by air, being close to both Galileo Galilei International Airport at Pisa and Amerigo Vespucci International Airport at Florence. The Central Station of Prato lies on the Florence to Bologna railway line and the city has an additional two railway stations offering regional destinations. By road, the city lies close to the junction of the A1 motorway running north to south from Bologna to Florence, and the A11 running west to Pisa. New expats moving to Prato may, however, find that driving inside the city walls, with its narrow streets and pedestrians zones, is quite tricky. For more tips on life in the city, expats in Prato can connect and compare notes at InterNations.
The economy of Prato is dominated by the textile industry and there are many expatriates working in Prato in one of the thousands of factories and fashion houses in the city. This industry is one of the main attractions for the many Chinese workers who make up the second largest Chinese community in Italy, right after Milan. The city also boasts a number of higher education institutions and the food industry also contributes greatly to the economy. Many expats in Prato also commute to work in either Pisa or Florence. To keep abreast of the latest economic developments, expats living in Prato can network on InterNations and perhaps uncover some professional opportunities and make new business contacts. For more information on the expatriate lifestyle, meanwhile, Expat Magazine is an excellent source of tips and articles.