The Cathedral - Santo Stefano
The wide Piazza del Duomo allows to admire, with different and various points of view, the several parts of the beautiful church. The places on which the Cathedral rises probably were place of cult since remote ages, in fact the Cathedral is one of the most ancient churches of Prato. The first document that testifies the existence of the building is dated 994; restructured from the 10th to the 15th century, the Cathedral appears today unitary, thanks to the balanced and vibrating purity of its volumes and the two-colour facade. The facade is Gothic and dates back to the years 1386-1457; it is characterized by the presence of the external pulpit, decorated by Donatello, between 1428 and 1438. The pulpit was created for the ostension of the important relic of the Sacra Cintola della Madonna, that takes place still today on special days, as Christmas, Easter, 1 May, 15 August and 8 September. Between 1386 and 1390 also the Chapel of the Sacra Cintola was built; it is the most sacred place of the whole city. It keeps the Sacra Cintola, that is the belt that, according to ancient traditions, was donated to San Tommaso during the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and was brought to Prato in the 12th century.