Cattedrale di Santo Stefano

Cathedral in Prato

Prato's 12th-century cathedral safeguards magnificent frescoes by Filippo Lippi behind the altar and Agnolo's beautiful fresco cycle of the Legend of the Holy Girdle (1392–95), in the chapel to the left of the entrance. Donatello and Michelozzo designed the unusual protruding pulpit (1428) on the cathedral's Pisan-Romanesque facade to publicly display the sacra cintola, a deeply venerated girdle believed to have been given to St Thomas by the Virgin and brought to Prato from Jerusalem after the Second Crusade.

Brought out five times a year today, the gossamer-fine wool rope brocaded with gold thread is locked away in the chapel in a gold reliquary with three keys. Many more cathedral treasures can be admired in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, a serene cloister museum accessed via a separate entrance at the foot of the cathedral bell tower. Highlights include 13th- to 15th-century sculptures and paintings in the Sala dei Due-Trecento; 16th-century silverware and fabrics in the Sala della Sacra Cintola; Filippo Lippi's masterpiece Esequie di San Girolamo (Funeral of Saint Jerome), painted for the cathedral in 1460, in the Sala del Rinascimento; and reliefs from Donatello's exterior pulpit, removed for safekeeping in 1970, in the Sala del Pulpito.