New plans for Piazza della Repubblica

Katie Acompora
February 27, 2014

Transport yourself back to the Piazza della Repubblica of centuries past: picture the heart of culture and commerce in Florence, a bustling square and preferred meeting place of prominent poets, writers, businesspeople, merchants, and politicians in 16th century Italy. Although the beauty of Piazza del Mercato Vecchio was destroyed in the 19th century and is survived by what is now known as Piazza della Repubblica, a redesign of the square is underway, aiming to restore it to its original glory.‘The idea is to bring to light the ancient Roman square and the remains of the Villanovan civilization,’ says councilor for culture Sergio Givone.


The reconstruction of Piazza della Repubblica will be overseen by the offices of the Cultura del Comune. In recent years, new measures, such as banning cars and advertisements from the square, have enhanced its elegance. So far, the most challenging task has been determining how to maintain the modernity of the present-day square while remaning connected to its storied past. There has even been controversy recently regarding the carousel and the markets that set up shop in the square at various times of year. 


Two new and innovative proposals are currently being considered. The first of these is the construction of a resource center for both tourists and Florentines. ‘We will likely launch a competition among architects, aiming to eventually construct a building designed to accommodate a large technology center. The center will provide real-time information on everything happening in the city—events, exhibitions, and up-to-date hours of museums and monuments,” says Givone. The second initiative involves the creation of a sitting area and literary space. Piazza dell’Indipendenza will first serve as a test-run for Piazza della Repubblica. The square will be transformed into a large outdoor bookstore during the summer. Booksellers and antique stalls will be invited to participate. The idea is to bring Florentines back to this space that they rarely frequent anymore, particularly in the summer evenings. Another objective involves squashing destructive activities in the area. If the initiative works well in Piazza dell’Indipendenza, a similar one will follow in Piazza della Repubblica.


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