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View from Italy: The People’s Republic of Prato

Tuscany's Chinatown is shrugging off the slump, but integration remains a challenge

By Anna Blundy   April 2017

©Andrea Pistoles/Getty Images

Prato, a small Tuscan town 16 miles from Florence, is famous for the Lippi frescoes in the Cathedral of Santo Stefano, and for its ancient textile business, documented by the 14th-century merchant Francesco Datini, whose palazzo can still be visited. Or, rather, that is what Prato used to be famous for.

For Prato is now famous mainly for its Chinatown, known as Santo Beijing and stretching from the stone gate down bustling Via Pistoiese to the edge of the old city. There is none of the…

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