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Changing Cityscape

Lucy David


Florence’s urban fabric is taking new form as pedestrianization plans for the Oltrarno district come into force and the city’s ancient heritage is unearthed with the opening of two archaeological sites.


Mayor Dario Nardella recently announced a €5 million renovation plan for the Oltrarno, beginning with the pedestrianization of Piazza del Carmine by January 12. The changes include new paving for the piazza, as well as in Via Romana, Via dei Serragli and Piazza del Nerli; the designation of certain streets for use by residents only; changes to bus routes 36 and 37; 200 new bicycle spots; and the pedestrianization of Piazzale Michelangelo by the end of 2015.


It’s a plan concerning the livability, mobility, culture, tourism, commerce, lighting, artisans, green spaces, and our families and children, so that the Oltrarno is increasingly more livable and less polluted, and has the very real prospect of being the crown jewel of Florence and our historical center,” said Nardella.


Car spaces currently occupying the two piazzas will be relocated to surrounding areas. The measures are forecast for completion by 2016.


Meanwhile, the city’s topography yields new finds with the opening of the Roman amphitheater under Palazzo Vecchio set to become a permanent feature in coming months. A relic of the Roman city of Florentia established in the first century AD, the theater was built to accommodate 5000 patrons and covered much of modern-day Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Santa Reparata puts Florence’s ancient heritage on display, where a new exhibition tracing the history of Florence and the Duomo from the Roman era through to the Romanesque and medieval periods highlights strata of history already in situ with the addition of specialized lighting and multimedia information points in Italian and English, while archaeology meets technology at the Uffizi’s Gold Unveiled project, which uses a non-invasive process to illuminate vestiges of gold on ancient works of art, allowing patrons to visualize their original splendor.