The Uffizi Gallery announces a €50 million project to restore the Boboli Gardens to their former Medici-era glory

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, has announced an ambitious €50 million master plan to transform nearby Boboli Gardens over eight years. The Boboli 2030 program includes 40 projects aimed at protecting the park from the devastating effects of climate change and making it more energy efficient, accessible and attractive. Highlights include the creation of three refreshment areas, restoration of statues and a new high-tech storage facility for what is, according to the Uffizi Gallery, the world’s largest collection of historic tapestries and tapestries.

Part of the Uffizi Gallery network, the park was designed by the Medici family from the 16th century and established the Italian garden style that became the model for European courts. The 33-hectare site behind the Pitti Palace includes monumental fountains, frescoed grottos and around 300 statues from the Classical, Renaissance and Baroque periods. About half of the projects included in the program have recently been completed, are in the final stages or are partially funded and will start shortly. The other half is completely new.

The newly renovated 18th century coffee house in the park Photo courtesy of the Uffizi Gallery

Details of the program were announced Monday, as staff inaugurated the park’s newly renovated 18th-century coffeehouse. According to the museum, funds that have not yet been allocated are mainly generated by ticket sales. “Our concrete promise can be realized in the next eight years and will be realized,” said Eike Schmidt, director of the museum, in a press statement. “Our goal is not only to bring the Boboli back to the glory days of the Medici and Lorena dynasties, but to go further and make it the best open museum in the world.”

“Fast and strong measures” have been developed to relieve cultural heritage from the “suffering and burdens” of climate change, the statement said. These include a planned fire protection system in the Amphitheater and Prato delle Colonne – wooded areas that could be hit by wildfires during extremely hot or dry periods – and a recent project to identify and secure unstable trees. “Extreme weather is becoming part of a trend,” said a spokesman for the Uffizi Gallery The art newspaper. “Every time there’s a storm, we have to close the parks because a tree falls.”

The view from the coffee house over the city of Florence Courtesy of the Uffizi Gallery

Many of the initiatives strengthen the eco-friendliness of the park, such as B. A recent €2.4 million project to equip the park with an energy-efficient lighting system, advanced video surveillance and a PA system for announcements and alarms. In another forthcoming project, the neoclassical Pagliere building will be transformed into an 800m² space for temporary exhibitions and as a repository for part of the rich Uffizi collection of 16th-18th century tapestries. It is heated and cooled with a €1 million geothermal system.

Other current projects include the introduction of 300 signposts and maps to improve navigability and the renovation of the iconic coffee house – a rare example of Rococo architecture in Tuscany – built by Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, in of Tuscany 1770s. In October, the Austro-Hungarian-style building reopens as a café after 20 years of closure.

Two other refreshment points will be created in the Prato dei Castagni and in the neoclassical Pagliere, while 3.5 million euros have been allocated for the restoration of the park’s sculptures and the replacement of the sculptures most at risk of weathering with copies. “A walk through the gardens will be an enlightening experience and an opportunity for spiritual growth,” promises Schmidt.

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