The city positions itself firmly as a centre for technology with a free school for coding creatively structured without lessons or teachers. 42 Firenze is a project backed by Fondazione CR Firenze and marks an exciting development for the sector as local institutions and the University of Florence collaborate in the project that promotes education and training in the coding sphere. The 18th century former Medici granary at via del Tiratoio 1 becomes a modern hub for the promotion of digital culture, as the coding school finds its home in the Fondazione CR Firenze’s Innovation Centre that’s also home to the Nana Bianca co-working space dedicated to digital start-ups. An auditorium hosts events and initiatives that promote the transformation of the local and national digital fabric, as well as meeting points that are open to all.
With no particular background required, young people enter the free school where cutting-edge mentors stimulate training at what is the second Italian headquarters of the international Ecole 42 network, with the first national site located in Rome. The network was created in Paris in 2013 by the French entrepreneur Xavier Niel and to date there are over 40 around the world. Linkedin recently announced that professions which have grown the most over the last five years in the labour market include robotic engineers, engineers with strong skills in artificial intelligence, and architects capable of designing and building scalable and resilient cloud environments, speaking to the forward-thinking capabilities of this Florentine hub.
Upon visiting the space, the Minister of University and Research, Maria Cristina Messa, commented, “This is something to reproduce and spread throughout the country. It’s a wonderful project that focuses on young people, giving them support and skills”. The presentation of the school on February 23 came ahead of two noted events for the sector, Google Hash Code on February 24 and Coding for Kids on March 24.
President of Fondazione CR Firenze, Luigi Salvadori, elaborates “Innovation and training are two areas that the pandemic has made even more strategic for the relaunch of Italy. Our foundation had already developed projects and calls for tenders dedicated to these two sectors. 42 Firenze is a piece of this much larger and more complex mosaic that’s centred in the Fondazione CR Firenze Innovation centre that we built in the former 18th century granary of the Medici family. We bought and restored it in order to transform it into one of the most important ecosystems dedicated to the frontier of innovation in Italy. We developed it with the contribution of Nana Bianca and we consider it a very important piece of Florence’s future. The Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Centre and a Cisco Italia space are also located inside, along with 42 Firenze which was created in collaboration with the Luiss Guido Carli University. We believe that 42 Firenze is a wave of strong innovation not only for the city, but certainly also for the region and the country. This school for coders is truly revolutionary: it has no lessons or professors, it’s open seven days a week, even on weekends and holidays. It’s absolutely free and aims to train young digital professionals over three years. Registrations are open to enter the first year; selections begin in May and courses start in September”.Digital nomads and students arriving from abroad or from other parts of Italy represent the “temporary citizens” of Florence, an increasingly important flow of young people to be encouraged. For this reason, the Destination Florence Convention Bureau and the Municipality of Florence recently launched the Be.Long project to respond to the needs of this new pool of users. On this subject, Salvadori commented, “We have many points in common with the Be.Long project because the Fondazione CR Firenze is also working to ensure that Florence can add to its many achievements, in terms of training, knowledge and innovation. There are already many high-quality schools and networks of business incubators, starting with Nana Bianca. What’s needed is to create a system by coordinating and harmonizing the various initiatives in a team effort which is the only way to obtain results quickly. In this process, foundations of a banking origin play a decisive role. The highest offices of the state, from President Mattarella to Prime Minister Draghi, have called on them to be the advisors for the rebirth process of our country, and it seems to me that we are beginning to see the first results also in our territory.”