The New Gateway to Florence

Santa Maria Novella announces winners of revitalization contest

Samantha Vaughn
January 25, 2018 - 15:51

On Wednesday, January 24, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella announced to the public the winners of the “Call for Ideas” for revitalizing the complex of Santa Maria Novella, which underwent a historic change in December 2016, when the Scuola Marescialli e Brigadieri dei Carabinieri left the space after more than a century, returning its management to the City of Florence.


Ph. Mary Gray


Seven projects were selected to transform the newly enlarged space. The winners include the Palazzo Spinelli Group, Schweigkofler Communications srl, Progenia srl and StarHotels spa, Polimoda, Istituto Storico della Resistenza in Toscana, Maestria srl and Nana Bianca.


Palazzo Spinelli aims to create the Istituto Beni Culturali Flores, led by companies working in local, national and international conservation and restoration, contributing to the defense of world heritage and promoting initiatives that focus on the study, valorization and enjoyment of historic and artistic patrimony. Schweigkofler proposes to establish a Visitor Centre 2.0 that boasts a main attraction in line with the museum’s itinerary, spaces for commercial activity and services and a performance space for dedicated events. Progenia and StarHotels have suggested the Experience Museum – Art, Science and Perception, the first thematic museum dedicated to both art and science. The proposal put forth by Polimoda follows the school’s educational mission, with the creation of classrooms, laboratories and offices, along with a lodging for their students and a cafeteria for both students and visitors.


The Istituto della Resistenza seeks to establish a single archive for a new House of Culture and History of the 20th Century and Present Day. The institution will also host exhibitions dedicated to various aspects of political, social and cultural history of the past century, as well as be a centre for the development and planning of cultural services of a historic and socio-political nature. Maestria would like to found a new scientific, cultural and technological centre dedicated to the production of promotional materials related to Italian culture in the world. And finally, Nana Bianca was selected for its availability to participate in the planning, creative and technological development of Santa Maria Novella.


The proposals encompass four purposes for the new space that can bring the complex to the foreground of Florence’s cultural fabric: security, culture, education and civic. The first two refer, respectively, to the Carabinieri maintaining a portion of the building, allowing for 24/7 security for the spaces and for the city, and to a funding of 5 million euro from Patto per Firenze, to be used to increase the exhibition space, provide a new home for “Firenze com’era” and create a welcome centre for the public. The third regards the contest that will be launched in search of an institution of higher education specializing in scientific, technological and cultural innovation. And the fourth recalls the name of the project as a whole “The New Gateway to Florence”: a place for public and private events, a visitor centre and a new location for holding civic weddings.

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