Florence: Stadio Franchi will be covered with a blade-shaped roof
source: StadiumDB.com; author: Rafał Zagrobelny
In four years' time Fiorentina should already be playing in a completely renovated stadium. The modernisation is due to start next year. So far, the authorities of Florence have chosen the design.
The saga of building a new (or modernising the old) Fiorentina stadium has been going on for many years. Various locations were analysed, from the suburbs to the plot of land opposite Stadio Artemio Franchi, on which the athletics facility stands. At one point it even seemed that it was already known how the new facility of the "Violets" will look like.
Reduced number of seats, but all under the roof
In the end nothing came out of the earlier plans, but finally the local government and the club authorities came to an agreement. Fiorentina will stay at their current venue, which will undergo a complete renovation, respecting the historic architecture. The surroundings of the stadium will also be revitalised.
The Florence magistrate launched a design competition last June. A jury of nine experts, in collaboration with officials, selected the 8 finalists from 31 proposals. The winning design by Arup studio is now known. Its architects in the past have been involved in the construction of stadiums such as Allianz Arena, the Chinese "Bird's Nest" or Espanyol Barcelona venue.
The current capacity of Franchi Stadium is 47,300 seats. According to the plans, after the reconstruction the number of seats will be reduced to 40,000. The proposal by Arup is to bring the stands closer to the pitch and cover them with a flat roof resembling a huge blade. The plans also include a museum, an exhibition space, an auditorium, a park and a hotel as well as commercial spaces. Ecological solutions such as photovoltaic panels on the roof and a rainwater system have also been planned.
Time for another tournament?
The stadium in Florence was built in 1931 and is owned by the city. It was the venue for World Cup matches in the 1934 and 1990 tournaments. Perhaps after modernisation, the Fiorentina stadium will once again host a major event, as the local federation is thinking of hosting Euro 2032.
During the presentation of the stadium design in the prestigious Palazzo Vecchio, Gabriele Gravina, president of Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, described the planned modernisation as a great gift for Florence, Fiorentina and all Italian football fans. “Viola” icon Gabriel Batistuta and former Italian national team coach Roberto Mancini also attended the event.
Construction is expected to begin in the autumn of 2023 and to be completed in 2026. During the works, the team will be able to play matches at their home ground at all times. The mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, has announced that the budget for the entire project is expected to be a maximum of €190 million, of which the work on the stadium itself will consume €137.5 million.
Not just a stadium - Fiorentina are building a training centre
Fiorentina are currently on an investment offensive. The modernization of the stadium is gaining momentum, but at the same time the construction of the new Viola Park training centre is already underway. It will be the heart of the club, the place where the players of the men's and women's first team, the reserve teams and all youth groups will train.
It is to be the largest and most modern facility of its kind in Italy, which will leave even the famous Milanello behind. The expense will also be record-breaking, as the investment is estimated at around €85 million.
The complex will consist of a stadium with 3,000 seats, another arena with stands for 1,500 fans and 8 grass training pitches. A renovated historic villa will be used as the club's headquarters. In addition, there will be a large event venue for 400 people, plenty of accommodation, a swimming pool and several gyms.
And let's not forget that we are talking about Italy, so there are also plans to build a chapel and - yes - a fountain! Club president Rocco Commisso emphasises that the inspiration for the "Viola" is the Tottenham Hotspur training centre. The scale of the design and the immersion of the entire infrastructure in green surroundings are similar.