An upgrade for piazzale Michelangelo’s balustrades

Restoration on railings completed

Editorial Staff
July 18, 2017 - 18:43

Florence's most famous overlook has gotten a facelift: restoration recently concluded on the balustrades of piazzale Michelangelo. Financed by Starhotels through Art Bonus—which offers a 65 per cent tax break to companies for donations to cultural initiatives—costs of the restoration totaled more than 1 million euro.

A portion of the upgraded balustrades in piazzale Michelangelo | Ph. Studio Associato CGE Fotogiornalismo

The project began in January 2016 and was carried out by the Direzione Servizi Tecnici, Servizio Belle Arti and the Fabbrica di Palazzo Vecchio. Starhotels announced its involvement in December 2015, coinciding with the company's celebrations of its 35th year.

Architect Giuseppe Poggi was behind the piazzale's planning and construction, which took place beginning in 1865, when Florence was named the capital of Italy by King Vittorio Emanuele II. Aiming to bring the balustrades back to the splendor of that era, researchers in the City of Florence's historic archive determined their original color and assembly details. Every individual piece was then dismantled, undergoing extensive cleaning and refurbishing where needed, followed by sandblasting, stuccoing and full immersion in zinc-based primer. A final coat of paint brought the balustrades—both those overlooking the city and those opposite the Poggi-designed loggia—back to their original color, which resembles pietraforte.  

Elisabetta Fabri, President of Starhotels, and Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence

Upon completion of the restoration, Starhotels President Elisabetta Fabri commented, “As an Italian and Florentine company, we are very proud to have contributed to the restoration of one of the most beautiful symbols of Florence. The City has demonstrated great knowledge and seriousness in bringing this worthy project to fruition in the expected timeframe. The protection and maintenance of our precious cultural heritage is fundamental for attracting good-quality international tourism, creating an added value for our cities and the basis of a booming economic future for our country.”

Echoing Fabri, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella said in a statement, “When public and private meet over the common objective of benefiting the city and its heritage, they demonstrate foresight and a love for Florence. We are thankful for the generosity of Starhotels and we hope that other private institutions can follow this example towards an increased appreciation for the value and redevelopment of our cultural and artistic masterpieces.”

Nardella also noted that the balustrade restoration is one part of an ongoing requalification of piazzale Michelangelo, which began in 2015 with the pedestrianization of a large portion of the square, and will continue with a repaving.

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