Today, there is a steadily growing interest in the use of proton beams for tumor therapy, as they permit to tightly shape the dose delivered to the target reducing the exposure of the surrounding healthy tissues. Nonetheless, accuracy in the determination of the dose distribution in proton-therapy is up to now limited by the uncertainty in stopping powers, which are presently calculated from the photon attenuation coefficients measured by X-ray tomography. Proton computed tomography apparatus (pCT) has been proposed to directly measure the stopping power and reduce this uncertainty. Main problem with proton imaging is the blurring effect introduced by multiple Coulomb scattering: single proton tracking is a promising technique to face this difficulty. As a first step towards a pCT system, we designed a proton radiography (pCR) prototype based on a silicon microstrip tracker (to characterize particle trajectories) and a segmented YAG:Ce calorimeter (to measure their residual energy). Aim of the system is to detect protons with a ~1 MHz particle rate of and with kinetic energy in the range 250-270 MeV, high enough to pass through human body. Design and development of the pCR prototype, as well as the characterization of its single components, are described in this paper.