The Uffizi Gallery announces a 50 million euro project to restore the Boboli Gardens to their former Medici-era glory
The Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy, has announced an ambitious €50 million master plan to revamp the nearby Boboli Gardens within eight years. The “Boboli 2030” program includes 40 projects aimed at protecting the park from the harmful effects of climate change while making it more energy efficient, accessible and attractive. Highlights include the creation of three refreshment areas, the restoration of statues and a new high-tech storage facility for what is the largest collection of historic tapestries and rugs in the world, according to the Uffizi.
Part of the Uffizi Galleries network, the park was designed by the Medici family from the 16th century and established the Italian garden style that became a model for European courts. The 33-hectare park behind the Pitti Palace includes monumental fountains, frescoed grottoes and around 300 classical, renaissance and baroque statues. About half of the projects that have entered the program have recently been completed, are in their final stages, or are partially funded and will begin shortly. The other half is completely new.
Details of the program were announced on Monday as staff opened the park’s newly renovated 18th-century Kaffeehaus. Funds that have not yet been allocated will be generated primarily through ticket sales, according to the museum. “Ours is a concrete commitment that over the next eight years will be achievable and will be realized,” said Eike Schmidt, director of the museum, in a press release. “Our goal is not only to bring the Boboli back to the glory of the days of the Medici and Lorena dynasties, but to go further, making it the best open museum in the world.”
“Rapid and strong measures” have been designed to relieve the heritage of the “suffering and pressures” posed by climate change, the statement continued. These include a planned fire prevention system in the amphitheater and Prato delle Colonne – wooded areas that could be affected by forest fires during extremely hot or dry periods – and a recent project to identify and securing unstable trees. “Extreme weather is becoming a trend,” an Uffizi spokesperson said. The arts journal. “Every time there is a storm, we have to close the parks because a tree falls.”
Many initiatives reinforce the park’s green credentials, such as a recent €2.4 million project to equip the park with an energy-efficient lighting system, modern video surveillance and a sound system for announcements and alarms. In another imminent project, the neoclassical Pagliere building will be developed as an 800m² space for temporary exhibitions and a storage facility protecting part of the Uffizi’s rich collection of 16th and 18th century tapestries. It will be heated and cooled by a 1 million euro geothermal system.
Other recent projects include the introduction of 300 directional signs and maps to improve navigability, and the renovation of the iconic Kaffeehaus – a rare example of Rococo architecture in Tuscany – built by Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Grand- Duke of Tuscany, in the 1770s. In October, the Austro-Hungarian-style structure will reopen as a café after a 20-year closure.
Two other supply points will be created in the Prato dei Castagni and the neoclassical Pagliere, while 3.5 million euros have been allocated to restore the park’s sculptures and replace those most at risk of being damaged by copies. “A stroll through the gardens will be an enlightening experience and a chance for intellectual growth,” promises Schmidt.