A very Florentine fleur-de-lis has been planted at piazzale Michelangelo in a symbolic gesture as the city defends its biodiversity and protects the bee population.
Consisting of 4,000 plants, including marigolds and petunias, the flower bed forms a black- and yellow-bee and spells out the words Bee The Change. The gesture extends beyond the showpiece in the piazzale as borage seeds, known to attract the insects, are being sown on the banks of the Arno River and on the city’s roundabouts. The initiative is financed by Aboca, the healthcare company headquartered in Sansepolcro, Tuscany, whose business ethos is centred on growing its own organic plants to extract the essences used in its widely respected products.
“Bees and apiculture are essential for the environment and the economy,” explained Cecilia Del Re, city councillor for the environment. “The sector consists of more than 5,000 beekeepers and 93,000 hives in Tuscany, and is really struggling because of climate change, which causes extreme weather…The installation at piazzale Michelangelo is an invitation to everyone to become part of the change towards a new development model that is more focused on the environment and the world where we live.”
With this predicament in mind, the city council is also encouraging residents to take up gardening on balconies and terraces. The “most beautiful balcony” contest is currently underway, which is organized by the Tuscan Horticultural Society, with borage seeds provided by Farmacie Fiorentine Afam.