Like most cities, there are many delineations or boundaries that mark out Prato's history. There’s the really old city, you can see the remanence of the old walls underground at the Cathedral museum. Human habitation like any other sort of history seems to blend in with the geological in long time-spans! The newer city walls are still very much visible, they’re huge. I guess it makes me think of gated communities or hyper-securitised suburbs.

When I landed in Rome the first thing that really impressed itself on me was the complexity and layering of the walls in the city. They looked like manuscripts, written in a language that I didn't understand. The old city wall doesn’t represent the limits of Prato now anyway, which has spread considerably further. Actually catching the train to Firenze, it’s hard to tell exactly where one city ends and the other begins. 

There is a certain density in the old city, most of the buildings seem to be a maximum of five stories high. People are packed together, but you get the feeling that it isn’t too tight. It seems just tight enough to be able to walk or ride your bike wherever you want to go. Actually the bike riders seem to operate on a completely different set of logic to that of cars. They do and go wherever they like. This reminds me about how pleasurable something can be when its not too formalised. I saw an elder person this morning riding their bike in large arcs swerving across the road like a child. Maybe the quality or nature of joy doesn’t change much with age, or maybe all joy has some kind of childhood element to it, of self-abandonment or something.

The other thing about this 'human scale' (actually I don't know what I think about this term, it seems too universal); in the Prato Museum, a former palace, there were doorways that seemed really small. I wondered if that related to the size of the Pratese in the 1400's or whether they just didn't mind small archways. I've also noticed incredibly low rail bridges, barely tall enough to accomodate the cars that drive underneath. I might find out some answers to these questions, but for the time being I'll leave it as observation