New Public Park at Piazzale Michelangelo

A photo released by the City of Florence on the new park at Piazzale Michelangelo

After nearly 10 years of disuse, the former campsites adjacent to Piazzale Michelangelo has been renovated into a new public garden. The finished park, which covers almost 10 acres, overlooks the city of Florence and includes picnic areas, newly installed benches and refurbished walking paths. Standout features include a telescope to admire the panoramic views of Florence and Fiesole, as well as areas for recreational sports and a total of 700 olive trees.

The park will also feature two specialized “rain gardens,” which are designed to retain water when there’s a heavy rainstorm in order to slowly release it back into the environment, according to Il Reporter.

The park owes its unique views of the city to its optimal hilltop position within the Oltrarno district. Located to the right of Piazzale Michelangelo, with a pedestrian entrance near the Iris Garden parking area, the park is below San Miniato al Monte. Intending to immerse visitors in nature, the area also features plenty of plant life and a stunning view of the hills surrounding the city. Refurbishing efforts for the park included the pruning of the existing olive trees, as well as clearing out the accumulated plant debris and trimming the hedges.  An irrigation system was also installed.

In addition to serving as a communal green space, the park will also be a site for the local community to engage with street art. Through a collaboration with the local Street Levels Gallery, the park will feature a permanent gallery of contemporary urban art developed by 40 artists.

The city of Florence also hopes that the area will serve as a hub for public events and activities. The park will be open to local associations who wish to utilize the outdoor space.

The project is reported to have cost approximately €450,000 to complete. Officials designed the park with improved accessibility and security in mind, creating both vehicle and pedestrian-friendly pathways and renovating existing ones. An additional expense of €90,000 was spent on installing a new LED lighting system.

At the park’s inauguration ceremony last month, Dario Nardella spoke about the construction process in one of his final public spaces as mayor of Florence. He stated that the establishment of the new public space would serve as evidence for the citizens of Florence against the fear that too much of  city has become private property.