This Christmas will be very different than usual: no showiness, none of the usual crowds, unfortunately no spending time together, which has always been traditional for the holidays.
The pandemic will not call a ceasefire and we cannot afford to make mistakes. Every single thing that could allow the virus to circulate more massively must be avoided. Our efforts cannot have been made in vain; that’s why I ask everyone living in Florence to make a further sacrifice. We cannot afford to drop our guard. If we continue to stay strong during the holidays, in a few months’ time we will be able to celebrate—truly celebrate—the end of this tragedy, which has clouded our lives for almost a year.
The Comune di Firenze intends to stay close to everyone here in Florence this Christmas and beyond. We have confirmed our holiday initiatives with light and hope as unifying elements. On December 7, we switched on the lights on the Christmas tree in piazza Duomo and the following day the Flight Festival began, filling the entire city with lights inspired by Dante ahead of next year’s 700th anniversary of the Supreme Poet’s death. After all, we also feel like we are in a “dark wood”, that we have lost our way and cannot wait to go out to “see the stars again”.
The Flight Festival will help us to regain our path in the darkness, with light installations and video mapping projected onto the city’s monuments, plus an extra special illumination of our hospitals. It’s a way to pay thanks and give tribute to the healthcare professionals who have worked nonstop for months.
Therefore, Florence will keep its lights on and, in so doing, deliver a message of closeness, respect and hope to all at the end of this incredibly difficult 2020.
The sincerest wish I can make for everyone this Christmas and for the New Year is that we free ourselves from this virus and that we can return to our previous lives as soon as possible. Lives that sometimes seemed demanding and that now, with all their flaws and problems, we crave more than anything else.
Not everything should be the same, however. For months, Florence has been restructuring its vision and administration for after the pandemic. We have discussed public transportation and amenities, pushing for an increasingly sustainable and livable city, whose foundations lie in culture and knowledge, in addition to a Florence that no longer depends on here-today-gone-tomorrow tourism, which uses our spaces without bringing any enrichment in return.
The Florence that will take shape once the virus has gone wants to be different: closer to the people, greener, smarter, which attracts new students, entrepreneurs and knowledge from all over the world. A changed city, which will not squander this tragedy, but instead will harness it to rethink and improve itself, with all our citizens. We are certain that, together, we can soon leave this emergency behind. Together, we will make it happen.
—Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence
Tune into TF Together
December 18, 6pm / A Christmas message with the Mayor of Florence
Dario Nardella speaks about administering Florence in 2020, practical ways to help the city and the months ahead.
Watch online: The Florentine’s Facebook live or YouTube channel.