The Franchi Stadium in Florence is in danger

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This work, created by Pier Luigi Nervi between 1929 and 1932, is among the most important of the Italian architectural heritage. The Franchi stadium stands out for the unprecedented role assumed by the structure which, without additional elements, becomes architecture. Thus a new way of seeing and conceiving forms was inaugurated, using technologies and construction methods that were new for the time. It is a classic work when considered in relation to many imitations that re-proposed and reinterpreted its particular, essential beauty.

Unfortunately, this admirable structure is at risk of being literally torn to pieces due to an amendment included in the Simplification Decree: art. 55-bis of Legislative Decree no. 76/2020. This has nullified the effectiveness of the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape which is linked to one of the most important principles of the Italian Constitution, Article 9 . Aside from the broad applicability that every law should have, which the amendment, so specifically targeted, fails to maintain, its approach reveals a fragmented vision of the Italian architectural heritage, almost as if it were dictated by particular interests.

The appropriate Ministry is solely entrusted with the identification of some "specific structural, architectural or visual elements of which conservation or reproduction is strictly necessary for testimonial purposes, even in shapes and sizes other than the original" with "methods and forms of conservation, also detached from the new sports facility ". This implies the possibility of large-scale interventions and to irreversible changes, including the complete demolition of a sports facility because of the priority given to its usability over the protection of its cultural relevance.

The amendment even contemplates the ability to demolish a building already declared of cultural interest if parts would be rebuilt in other places and in "different dimensions".  This violates all national and international charters and conventions.  It is contrary to the very concept of protection, which Italy has always championed. In this way, fragmentation affects the rules and the works submitted to them in the same way.  

Ugo Carughi

Past President Italia
Member of the ICOMOS Italian National Council

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