In the centre of Prato there can be found an industrial heritage site of European importance: The Campolmi Textile Factory. The two-storey, faithfully restored rectangular building with its courtyard, elegant water basin and slender brick chimney was constructed in 1863. Today it is a symbol of Prato´s centuries-old textile tradition which has marked the Tuscan town up to the present day. The textile activity ceased trading in 1994. The work of the factory rehabilitation begun in 2000. In May 2003 Prato Textile Museum (just operating since 1975) has been definitively housed in the converted Campolmi textile mill. The new labrary Biblioteca Lazzerini (the Centro Culturale e di Cocumentazione Lazzerini) has been opened in 2009. The Lazzerini Documentation und Cultural Centre is composed by an exhibition room, a children's room, a creative space and many other local collections. It provides efficient and qualified services for visitors and it is regularly opened.
The textile museum is on the most important museum of this kind in Italy. Covering an area of 2,400 square metres, the Textile Museum displays an extensive range of textiles, historic machinery and individual stories, ranging from the workers in the Middle-Ages, the conditions experienced by factory workers in the 19th century to the closing-down of the factory in 1994. Antique textiles of Coptic origin, cloths from other Italian and European cities as well as traditional costumes from all over the world illustrate the worldwide influence of the local textile industry. A special highlight is the continuously updated collection of modern textiles and fashions.
Since the 13th century there have been canals in and around Prato, which enabled the water of the River Bisenzio to be used for textile manufacturing. Historic records reveal that in 1326, on the site of the Textile Factory Campolmi, there was once a Textile Mill (Walkerei). Later the Church bought the building and turned it into a flour mill. March 1863 marked a turning point in the history of the town. Through the efforts of the new owners Vincenzo Campolmi, Luigi Cecconi and David Alphandery – all of them successful entrepreneurs in the prospering local textile industry – a textile factory was built, which established Prato´s reputation for extraordinarily soft and smooth cloth. The waters of the Canal Gora del Fiume Romita were used to provide power, alongside whose banks the factory is still located today. The current form of the building with its characteristic courtyard was mainly constructed by the end of the 19th century and it housed the fulling, dyeing, carding and rolling, processes, all essential steps in the production of cloth. Both the large size of the factory, 8,500 square metres, and also its location in the centre of Prato ensured that it soon became a prominent symbol of the local textile industry. Many of Prato’s textile workers were trained there and it wasn’t until 1994 that the factory closed down.
The restoration of the industrial site was undertaken with the aim of protecting as much of the original building as possible, particularly the arched ceilings and tiled floors. Today the building houses the Cultural Institute and the Library Lazzerini as well as the Textile Museum. The new public library of the city of Prato, the Cultural Institute and Documentation Centre Lazzarini, is a centre for the dissemination of culture, information und knowledge at the service of all citizens, a cultural centre to the live and recall the industrial past of the town even through the participation in events, workshops, book presentations, conferences and exhibitions. With its ancient and special funds, the library is also a centre for documentation of the hsitory and memory of the territory. It organizes congresses, conferences and seminars on the history of Prato and its manufacturing activites. In contrast to many other Tuscan tows, Prato is domineted by industry. Even today, there are approximately 8,000, mainly small and specialised buisenesses with more than 40,000 employees which continue Prato's textile tradition.
|Recommended duration of visit:||1,5 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
Instituto culturale e di documentazione Lazzerini:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9am-8.30pm
Museo del Tessuto:
Monday, Wednesday - Friday 10am-3pm
Sunday 3-7pm (free entry)