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The independent association Hydra, together with citizens Florentines sensitive to the protection and enhancement of the Unesco treasure fra Palazzo Pitti e High gazebo, promotes a path of participation in the Oltrarno.

Is called "Belvedere laboratory". 400 signatures are needed under the petition spread in these hours on social networks and in the neighborhood. If the listening project is approved by the “Regional Authority for Participation”, a season of transparency, public debate and co-planning will begin next spring. Finally, civil society is the protagonist: the resident and commuter population, commercial and craft businesses, schools and universities. But also visitors and the world of culture.

Yes, because the project launched by Idra starts from a case-school of urban planning to the attention of national public opinion: the first green light, far from definitive, given by Palazzo Vecchio to gigantic transformation proposed by a wealthy private individual right next to the Renaissance Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Pitti and Forte Belvedere, on the hill that - opposite - houses the Villa and the Bardini Garden.

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It is, at the state of the art, an intervention that would lead in full Unesco historical center of the City of the Flower to a profound building renovation and to the radical change of destination of a vast complex of high architectural quality, already for decades the Military Health School, set in the great mosaic of the assets most dear to the Florentines and the whole world. On its over 16.000 square meters of surface, the construction of one is expected, for a share close to 90% mega-luxury accommodation facility. Apparently indispensable, according to the design presented to the Municipality of Florence, huge excavations to make room underground, in the fragile 'Poggio delle Rovinate' (a toponym that says everything about the characteristics of the places), parking lots, a driveway tunnel, warehouses and services.

And, again, for the benefit of the wealthy clientele expected in the 300 planned beds, they are hypothesized mechanical connections with the hotel (funicular? rack? inclined lift?) from Palazzo Pitti and Forte Belvedere, on the crest of the walls that from Belvedere delimits the border with the Boboli Gardens.

In exchange, the community would have access to the restored rooms of historical, artistic and architectural value. But for free or with ticketing? 1 or 365 days a year? One hour a day or 24 hours? Of this, in the endorsement of Palazzo Vecchio, there is no trace. While the municipal technical offices that deal with mobility have already categorically excluded the possibility of touching this segment of the historic city, called to become the necessary paradoxical epicenter of a heavy construction site.

The Belvedere hill also represents, in the Florentine landscape, a lucky exception: the steep slope of the Costa San Giorgio along the ridge, and the distance from the mass tourist flows of the sweet and winding Via San Leonardo, from the foot of the Forte Belvedere to the avenues of the Poggi, allow this road network to live and bring to life a particular condition. Here it is possible to walk enjoying visual, sound and olfactory rhythms and perceptions anchored to the history of the places and the identity of the artefacts and walls, plastered and decorated with geometric graffiti patterns. These appear to be values ​​that should absolutely be preserved, defending them from a mass penetration inspired by the speculative tourist model that - until the eve of the pandemic - marked Florence.

According to Idra and the citizens who rally around this petition, the recovery of movable and immovable property (frescoes, cloisters, courtyards, stairways) degraded after 23 years of neglect within the convent environments used by the former disused barracks could certainly constitute - without prejudice to the natural and urban constraints that the peculiar viability of the context presents - a commendable added value to the usability of the city's historical heritage. But the meritorious recovery runs the risk of bringing with it harmful consequences of all kinds if it is not guided by an aware, listening and rigorously vigilant public hand. And this is precisely the constructive purpose of the participatory process: that of ensure citizenship and local, national and international public opinion a path of knowledge, comparison, proposal and monitoring that makes transparent the objectives and characteristics of the urban variant adopted (but not yet approved), and contributes to analyzing the impacts of the interventions hypothesized on the life of the neighborhood population, on the usability of the artistic assets to be recovered, on the conservation of the qualities and characteristics of the context, and therefore on the very image of this precious portion of the historic city.

First step, collect as many signatures as possible; that's how:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PARTICIPATION at the “Belvedere Laboratory” - Idra is promoting the participatory process at the “Regional Authority for the Guarantee and Promotion of Participation” pursuant to Regional Law 46/2013. This project, for which the preliminary application has been formally filed in the Region, must be accompanied, by February, by 400 signatures from citizens residing in the Oltrarno area.

1. for signatories, who are at least 16 years old and reside in the Oltrarno area of ​​the District 1 form to be filled in with data and signature, then digitized and returned to idrafir@gmail.com is attached and entitled "Belvedere Laboratory, signature collection form residents of the Oltrarno area of ​​the District 1 ".

You can ask Claudia for information by phone at 328.82.62.523. We are also looking for collection points in the neighborhood for forms filled out on paper for those who do not know how to send back electronically.

2. Signatures can also be collected outside the Oltrarno, in via Calzaioli or alle Cure, in Scandicci or Osmannoro, in Cape Town or Los Angeles, but they have no 'legal' value for the purposes of the evaluation procedure in the Region: here there are no minimum quotas to reach. But it is a support that still seems to us to be important on a symbolic level (Costa San Giorgio is a Unesco area, like the entire historic center of Florence: that is, a world heritage site). Memberships that we will report in any case to the regional authority and to public opinion.

The form to be filled in, digitized or photographed and sent back to idrafir@gmail.com or to 3288262523, is also the one that we attach to you in pdf, instead entitled "Belvedere Laboratory, non-resident signature collection form".

3. A further possibility is to have people who, due to their activity, have distinguished themselves in society, in the artistic and cultural environment, adhere to the Manifesto, attached.

Here the leader is the architect. Giorgio Galletti, consultant for the Bardini Garden, former director of the Boboli Gardens.

To all those who live in the world, for the title they have or the role they cover, can provide a particular added value with their signature to the common battle, you can send a similar message (adjusting it to everyone's situation):

Here the Boboli-Belvedere Manifesto and map of the Oltrarno area, concerning the “Ex Caserma Vittorio Veneto” urban variation, Costa San Giorgio, Florence, in consideration of the feared impacts on the territory and on the historical-artistic heritage in the Unesco area.

It would be of great help to sign this Manifesto which you can send to Giorgio Galletti - giorgiogalle10@gmail.com - with the formula: “I sign the Boboli-Belvedere Manifesto, February 2021”, specifying name and surname and possibly title or role.

Photo taken from the site www.idraonlus.it

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