Pimp my piazza

Editorial Staff
October 25, 2012

When the church of Santa Croce was built in the thirteenth century, it was just outside the city walls and the space in front of it was an open field that periodically filled with crowds of people who wanted to hear the speeches of Franciscan preachers. Eight centuries later, piazza Santa Croce still draws crowds-by day with tourists, by night with the overflow from nearby bars. During Florens 2012, from November 3 to 11 (see TF 166-170), an installation by Italian contemporary artist Mimmo Paladino asks viewers to reconsider the arrangement and use of this space through the injection of public art in the form of large pieces of marble arranged in a cross. Can public art lend dignity and functionality to a space like this?


Public art in Milan by Mimmo Paladino | Photo by Renato Grisa on Flickr Public art in Milan by Mimmo Paladino | Photo by Renato Grisa on Flickr


Meanwhile, a centuries-old olive grove will appear overnight in piazza Duomo, prompting similar questions about how we use this public space and its importance, not just historically but also in the current day. Transposed to the city, olive trees, one of the main features of the Tuscan countryside, might remind us of the importance of the olive as a local food product, but we are also confronted with a sudden and much-needed urban green space.


What do you want from your city's piazzas? What are they lacking, and how might these missing elements be addressed by artists, citizens and public administrations? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tfnews) or by writing to [email protected]

more articles