At a time of general uncertainty, in which even the simplest Christmas traditions are called into question, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation is lighting up Florence once more, starting in piazza San Firenze.
Coinciding with the citywide Christmas light switch on December 8, the Christmas tree in piazza San Firenze became the first to be lit, in addition to the other trees in the main squares of Florence. It represents a sign of a new beginning in the name of hope for future generations and culture.
The restoration of the second floor of the baroque Complex of San Firenze, which was freely granted by the City of Florence and restored by ABF, will be inaugurated in January as the operational headquarters of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation on World Education Day (January 24). The inauguration will be a long-awaited moment in the foundation’s history, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2021.
With the aim of offering an innovative project centred on music and art, the San Firenze headquarters will provide vocational meetings and laboratories for children and teenagers who live in Florence, as well as young people from further afield. The centre will host free twinning events and cultural exchange projects, in line with ABF’s mission of empowering people and communities.
“This is not the first time that the spotlight has been on the city of Florence. However, this year, light, which has always symbolized the overcoming of darkness, will have even more significance for anyone who stops to admire the Christmas tree in the center of Piazza di San Firenze,” said Andrea Bocelli. “The period we are experiencing must lead us to believe all the more in young people, in their strength and their abilities. That is why we must combine our efforts so that they may fully develop their abilities. And the spaces created by ABF within the Palazzo di San Firenze will be this: a ‘living laboratory’ dedicated to them.”
“A more simple and intimate Christmas awaits us,” said Mayor Dario Nardella. “But we wanted to put on a few traditional activities related to the festivities, such as the Flight Festival and the decorated Christmas trees around the city, as a sign of hope for beginning anew after the pandemic. This new tree in piazza San Firenze will also mark a new cultural space that is about to open for the people of Florence. We are truly grateful to Maestro Andrea Bocelli and his Foundation for choosing our city to be the location for this new innovative project that will link the spaces of the former court to initiatives dedicated to the arts, culture, training and charity.”
Since 2011, ABF has raised over 30 million euro resulting in the construction of eight schools in Italy and Haiti that offer daily access to a world-class education to over 3,000 students, in addition to creating welfare projects that guarantee access to clean water and basic medical treatment to over 400,000 people living in the most remote and impoverished areas of Haiti. Donations are welcome by ordering the Andrea Bocelli Foundation’s personalized Christmas ornament or by supporting the “With You, to Shape the Future” fundraiser, dedicated to developing the pilot project for distance learning and hospital schools. Donate here.