Who’s who in the Florence primaries

A closer look at the centre-left’s mayoral candidates

Brenda Dionisi
February 12, 2009

For the first time ever in the city of Florence, foreign residents will be given the opportunity to have their say in a primary election, which will select the mayoral candidate from the centre-left coalition. In the upcoming primary elections, scheduled for February 15, all legal residents of Florence over the age of 16 years are eligible to register and vote, regardless of nationality or citizenship.  It is an unprecedented opportunity for the English and foreign-speaking communities of residents in Florence to have their say on the important local issues facing the city In this campaign, the centre-left coalition has made an effort to inform and engage the full resident community in helping to choose the next mayor of Florence. Since the majority of our readers are legal residents in the city, and thus qualify to vote in the primaries, we think it is important to introduce and learn more about the five candidates from the centre-left that will participate in the Florence primaries. See brief profiles of each candidate below. This is an important moment-even critical-for the future of our city. One of these candidates may be the next mayor of our city. So get interested, do your research and make the trip to the polls on February 15 if you qualify to vote. Let the local decision-makers know what concerns you most as a English and foreign-speaking member of the resident community of Florence.



CANDIDATE PROFILES  (in order of the ballot)





Age: 45 years

Place of birth: Florence

Profession: Politician and journalist.

Political experience: He began his political career after finishing his university studies. He was first elected to the local council in 1985. He was city councilman of Florence from 1985 to 1990 and chairman of the education committee from 1992 to 1995. He was a member of the Italian Parliament from1996 to 2004 and a member of the European Parliament from2004 to 2008. He is a lecturer in politics at the University of Florence and at Stanford University of Florence.

Political party: Partito Democratico

Campaign slogan: Lapo. Punto e capo. (‘Lapo. Stop and start again.').

Website: www.lapopistelli.it. Contains programme details, full contact information, videos, blog.


Pistelli has extensive political experience both in Italy and abroad. He is often seen as a rather hip 40something who will not hesitate to get behind the turntables or play a musical instrument to entertain an audience. His platform is close to the general PD platform. He is a well-known and respected figure in Florence and he takes his role seriously. Some of his promises include improvements to the urban road network, reductions in car pollution, increasing public transport and curbing city traffic. Improvements to infrastructure include the construction of the proposed football stadium, speedy completion of the Tramvia, and further the development of the airport and railway network. Pistelli believes in green solutions such as the construction of a new incinerator for Florence, as does the broader PD platform. The local PD, and Pistelli in particular, also pledges to carry out the 20-20-20 green plan proposed by the European Union: a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, a 20 percent production of energy from renewable resources and a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide gas emissions.     



Age: 66 years

Place of birth: Sesto Fiorentino (FI)

Profession: Politician.

Political experience: He boasts a long list of federal, regional, provincial and municipal roles. He was the mayor of Florence from 1985 to 1990. He is currently the shadow minister of the Platform of Accomplishment in the Italian parliament.

Political party: Partito Democratico

Campaign slogan: Perché Firenze merita di più

(‘Because Florence deserves more').

Website: www.micheleventura.it.

Contains programme details and contact information.


Ventura has a long and distinguished career in politics and a proven record in Palazzo Vecchio: he was mayor from 1985 to 1990. Having made a last-minute decision to announce his participation in the primaries, Ventura will focus his campaign on 13 main points, the majority of which are included in the broader PD platform. More specifically, he seeks to improve public and private investment in banking and credit services, local industry, artisan, tourism and culture. He supports restoration and maintenance initiatives in the city and neighborhoods, citing the needed to ignite a ‘new Florentine renaissance.'



Age: 33 years

Place of birth: Florence

Profession: Politician and expert in marketing. Renzi began his political career soon after finishing secondary school and later formed Chil srl, a direct marketing company.

Political experience: Current president of the Province of Florence (2004-2009)

Political party: Partito Democratico

Campaign slogan: Prima Firenze! (‘Florence First!')

Website: www.renzi2009.it. Website contains Renzi's campaign pledges, favourite songs, videos, photos, blog and full contact details.


Matteo Renzi is the youngest candidate running in the local primaries and the youngest provincial president in the country. He has enjoyed much success in this role, having encouraged greener policies throughout the province and reduced provincial government spending. Renzi plans to govern Florence with the enthusiasm, dynamism and the high-tech savvy of a younger, yet experienced policy-maker. ‘One hundred percent Florence' is his list of 100 ways to change Florence for the better, making it ‘simpler, more courageous and beautiful.' Perhaps the most significant pledge he has made is to bow out of politics if he does not win the primary elections. In Renzi's first 100 days in office, he would introduce bike sharing, maintain and increase bike racks, and get the Tramvia back on track so there are no more delays in construction, and thus no additional costs. Renzi wants Florentine citizens to have free access to all city museums one day a month, and he wants to launch nighttime openings of churches, museums and libraries for residents. And if the public thinks he has missed something, he invites people to leave a post-it on his website or send him a virtual text message.




Age: 50 years

Place of birth: Florence

Profession: Politician.

Political experience: Lastri has worked in local and provincial government since 1990, when she was first elected to the municipal council, for which she served as president from 1995 to 1999.  Since 1999, she has played various roles in Palazzo Vecchio, from social services, public education, youth issues and initiatives, and equal opportunities to professional training and education for adults.

Political party: Partito Democratico

Campaign slogan: Un sindaco come te (‘A mayor just like you.')

Website: www.danielalastri.it. Contains programme details, contact information, photos, blog.


Daniela Lastri hopes to be the first female mayor of Florence. Her political platform is dedicated to the people of this city, and the focus of her campaign is love-love for Florence. In concrete terms, she aims to improve the city administration by making it more efficient and transparent. She wants to build on and develop the city's cultural network by improving synergies between all cultural institutions in the city and surrounding areas. She is sensitive to the issues that women face, from equal career opportunities to services for single and married mothers. One of her pledges is to increase daycare facilities and improve municipal services for parents. Lastri wants to make Florence the ‘capital of young people', where young talent is cultivated and encouraged and aims for the local and international stage.





Age: 58 years

Place of birth: Montegabbione in the province of Terni, Umbria.

Profession: Politician and physiotherapist.

Political experience: He began his political career as a student when he attended the Institute for the Blind on via Nicolodi, Florence. He fought to improve the services offered to the visually impaired in the city. From 1985 to 2004, he was president of Florence's Quartiere 1. He was elected president of the Florence city council in 2004, and holds this role today.

Political party: La Sinistra

Campaign slogan: ‘Firenze bella, perché è buona' (‘A more beautiful Florence for the "good" Florence').

Website: Cruccolini does not have a website; those interested can consult his party's platform at www.lasinistrafirenze.org.


General information:   Fifty-five polling stations will be set up throughout the city on February 15 (to find them, consult www.primariefirenze.it); they will be open from 8am to 9pm.  At the polling station, voters must show an identity card or driver's license to cast their ballot and pay one euro to cover administrative costs. On the ballot, voters must clearly mark on an X in the circle next to the name of the person they would like to see run for mayor.  The five candidates, from two centre-left parties, are listed below. The candidate who wins 40 percent of the votes on February 15 will run for mayor as the centre-left candidate in the municipal elections, to be held on June 6 and 7, 2009. In the event that one of the five candidates does not win at least 40 percent of votes, another election day has been tentatively scheduled for February 22.

more articles