The Museum of Textile Art: an exploration through the art and history of textiles
Located in the heart of Prato, surrounded by majestic medieval walls, the Textile Museum is a jewel that celebrates textile art and technology. This extraordinary museum is housed in the fascinating building of the historic “Cimatoria Campolmi”, a living testimony of industrial textile archaeology. Here, between past and present, a fascinating journey is revealed to discover ancient and contemporary fabrics, as well as the rich textile traditions of the city.
History and evolution of the museum
The museum was founded in 1975 thanks to the generous donation of the private collector Loriano Bertini to the “Tullio Buzzi” Industrial Technical Institute. This very school was the home of the Textile Museum until 1997 when it was moved to Piazza del Comune. In 2003, however, it was transferred to its current location in the former Cimatoria Campolmi.
From Coptic and pre-Columbian fabric fragments dating back to the 4th-6th century to elegant 14th-century fabrics such as Perugian tablecloths and Lucchese lampasses, the museum contains a vast range of finds. The textile collections, which have grown steadily, now include around six thousand pieces, and range from elegant 19th century dresses to ethnic fabrics from every corner of the globe.
Today, the Textile Museum is managed by a foundation made up of the Municipality of Prato, the Province of Prato, the Industrial Union, Cariprato, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Crafts.
The experience begins in the familiarization area, designed to introduce visitors to the fascinating world of fabrics. Here, visitors can gradually explore the textile production process through a direct and understandable reading of the exhibited artefacts. The ability to touch the materials on display not only offers active participation but also allows for a deeper understanding of the fabric itself.
In the Historical Room, the visitor is immersed in the rich textile history. From Coptic and pre-Columbian textile fragments to Italian Renaissance with Venetian and Florentine lampas, the room offers an intimate look into centuries past. Fabrics and artist’s sketches, including works by Raoul Dufy and Bruno Munari, narrate the evolution of textile art as a creative expression.
These are the collections preserved in the museum:
- Ancient fabrics and sacred vestments
- Embroidered fabrics and artefacts
- Ethnic fabrics and clothes
- Archaeological fabrics
- Prato samples
- Artist’s sketches and fabrics
- Contemporary fabrics
- Clothes and accessories
- Fashion sketches
Prato Città Tessile
The Textile Museum does not just showcase the global history of textiles, but also celebrates Prato’s rich textile tradition. A dedicated path illustrates the evolution of the production of woolen cloth from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, through reconstructions, documents and period objects. The contemporary section showcases innovative fabrics produced in the Prato district, marking the milestones of technological innovation.
Furthermore, the museum continues to enrich the visitor experience with temporary exhibitions and installations, offering an ever-open window onto the fascinating world of fabric, fashion and design, both ancient and contemporary. Welcome to the beating heart of textile art, welcome to the Prato Textile Museum.
Tuesday – Thursday: 10:00 – 15:00
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 – 19:00
Sunday: 3pm – 7pm
Full price: €10
Via Puccetti, 3 Prato
For all other information, I refer you to the museum’s official website.