Places in Prato:
Renewed spaces

Former Church of San Giovanni

A place where ideas are making their way

Behind the Emperor's Castle is one of the oldest buildings in Prato (12th century) and a rare example of Tuscan Romanesque style: the Hospital of the Holy Sepulchre or Church of San Giovanni Gerosolimitano, to which in the 13th century the Knights of Malta added the hospital church. Centuries later the building was put to other uses, most recently (from 1969 to the beginning of the renovation works) as a mechanic workshop.
The renovation of the former Church of San Giovanni is an investment project that Fonderia Cultart, a cooperative cultural company made up of a group of young professionals, set up in order to turn the historic building into the current cultural and social venue, which inaugurated its programme of events in 2014.
The Church, of significant historical and artistic value, comprises a single rectangular nave without apse, which was probably originally covered by wood trusses that were replaced in the 15th century by the cross vault that we see today.

The facade still retains most of the original terracotta facing. The portal is surmounted by two symmetrical windows (now blind), to which was later added a large rectangular window in the middle; the restoration brought to light two more small windows over the latter. On the left side of the facade one can see a very interesting decorative insert in molded terracotta showing a human head, two lilies, linked circles and arrowheads.
The project aims to turn the former small church into an open place equipped to offer operational tools and communication means to young professionals in the field of culture and creativity; all this through private management possessing the necessary skills for getting actors and resources involved in a way that is independently sustainable, without relying exclusively on public funds, as often happens with cultural institutions.

The programmed events - shows, meetings, exhibitions, and showcases - are organized by Fonderia Cultart and by anyone, whether in a public or private capacity, wishing to propose ideas, initiatives or projects.
The space also includes services such as the Box Office for the purchase of tickets to the main musical, artistic or theatrical events and the sale of sought-after products, such as art and theatre publishing, collectors' records or independent label albums.
The historic and elegant environment, the central location, and its 130 sqm make of the Former Church a unique and flexible environment, ideal for all types of exhibition and event.

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