Write the Mayor

Matteo Renzi
November 10, 2011

Those interested in writing the mayor can send messages and comments via email to redazione@theflorentine.net, stating 'Write the Mayor' in the subject line of the email. Emails must clearly state the author's first name, surname, city and country of birth, and the city and country of residence.

 

Dear Mayor Renzi,

On many occasions I am proud of my Florentine birthright and heritage. Growing up in America has given me the appreciation of two cultures, two languages and the value of knowing we live in a global community. As a Florentine, I know what it is to be proud of my city's legacy. As an American, I know what it's like to find practical solutions to sometimes complicated problems.

 

There are times where my pride turns to frustration and embarrassment. On a recent trip to Porto, Portugal, I was impressed by the ultra-modern, scaled-for-the-future international airport. The equally impressive metro system connecting the airport to the city is surely a sustainable contribution. I am aware of the European financing for such projects. How is it that Florence, a city I (chauvinistically) consider to be a world-class destination of global importance has not produced this kind of long-term infrastructure solution?

 

The upgrades now underway at Peretola Airport speak to the short-sightedness of ignoring a sustainable future for Florence's residents and millions of visitors. Wouldn't a truly international airport through partnerships with Pisa, or Bologna be a solution for growth and opportunity? What about a high-speed rail system connecting airports to these cities? Where is our uniquely Italian talent for finding these kinds of solutions even in hard times? Sustainability is a reality we have to get used to. Shouldn't all our decisions regarding infrastructure be with this goal?

 

I applaud your initiative to solicit the opinions of foreigners living in Florence. I hope such exchanges help change minds.

 

Sincerely,

Paolo Balduzzi

 

 

Dear Paolo,

You're right about a partnership with Pisa and Bologna and the need for high-speed connections, but Florence needs its own airport for business. Everyone asks for it; Pisa is perfect for vacation and tourist flights, but for businesspeople we need to keep our local airport open. It's a convenient facility close to the city that we just can't give up-passengers can get to the center in just 20 minutes, which is something that no high-speed train system can provide.

 

But we are still working for changing the direction of the landing strip. It could be a very big improvement to the quality of life for the people who live here.

 

Thank you for writing,

Matteo

 

 

Dear Mayor Renzi,

It is a tragedy that the Teatro Comunale scene dock is likely to be closed, or at least reduced to just touching up the scenery. I know there must be cuts (why are there more office workers now in the theatre than technicians?) as the theatre has been overspending for years. At one time, however, the Comunale was producing more performances than the Scala and spending less. And in those days, the government intervened, giving more money to save theatres that were spending more and usually producing less. Of course, this meant that when the first cuts came, it was far more damaging to the Comunale than other theatres. My husband worked in the scene dock for 35 years and did all he could to curtail overspending on the part of the direction, but, even so, certainly it was cheaper to make the scenery on site than abroad, considering transport costs, etc.

 

It seems odd that things have changed so much in just a few years. So many famous artists have worked there over the years that the floorboards are history and the techniques uses for making scenery are the result of years of experience and craftsmanship. Why throw it away?

 

Yours sincerely,

Susan Glasspool (Bottaro)

 

 

Dear Susan,

I'd like to thank people like your husband, who have lived a long piece of the wonderful history of the Teatro Comunale. I know there are a lot of people who have been working to achieve the best result possible for the Maggio Musicale, and with this in mind we must now face the dramatic consequences of the theater's economic situation: unless we proceed with the cuts set by the superintendent Francesca Colombo, a person in whom I place a great deal of trust, the future will be very bleak for the Comunale. We have inherited a huge debt from the past and the citizens of Florence cannot be asked to pay for it over and over again. It is time to break this negative cycle and make a change that will bring success to our theater.

 

I would also like to comment on the tours taken by the Maggio to say that though it may seem counter-intuitive, productions on the road can actually be more economic for the Maggio than those taking place right here in Florence. I remain confident that the exceptional work of our craftsmen and their art will not be lost, but I am also convinced that it now needs to be part of a new organization of the theatre that will keep the Maggio Musicale with us for many years to come.

 

Best,

Matteo

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