Design & Development

Fiorentina set for two-season stay away from Franchi

Featured image credit: Città di Firenze

Italian Serie A football club Fiorentina will require a temporary home for two seasons whilst redevelopment of the Stadio Artemio Franchi takes place, according to Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella.

The Municipality of Florence owns the historic stadium and is leading its renovation project. In March 2022, the Italian division of engineering and design consultancy Arup was selected to lead the revamp, securing the architectural and multidisciplinary design contract.

Nardella gave an update on the project following a wider planning committee meeting held yesterday (Tuesday). He told reporters: “The priority choice is for Fiorentina to play away from the Franchi stadium for two championships, therefore from mid-2024 to mid-2026.

“The priority choice, barring a last-minute change of mind, is to keep the construction site separate from the team’s matches. I spoke about it with (Fiorentina general manager) Joe Barone just last Sunday during the match against Lecce. The relationship is excellent, we have fine-tuned everything.”

Arup’s proposal was one of eight shortlisted by the Municipality in October 2021. The Municipality launched an international design competition for the project back in June 2021, with 31 applications having been submitted during the initial stage of the competition. As well as the stadium, the competition sought proposals which would create a new sports/cultural space as a key part of the urban regeneration of the Campo di Marte area in Florence.

The Franchi opened in 1931 and has a current capacity of around 43,000. Arup’s proposal features a roof for the Franchi and new grandstands which will bring fans closer to the pitch. The project will be financed with money from Florence’s Recovery Fund. Under the plans, the new capacity of the stadium will be at least 40,000.

A tender process is currently running for the project’s development contract, with Nardella yesterday stating that it has received a strong response. He said: “We can say that it went very well, beyond our expectations. We didn’t expect so many proposals, we really didn’t expect them.

“In April we will send letters of invitation to all participants who meet the requirements. After that, whoever wants to will present for the final assignment, and there will be the winner who we will identify in July and to whom we will give the contract.”

Nardella added: “We will already begin the preparatory work this summer at the Franchi, then the more visible things will begin to be seen in December, with the first machinery arriving to do more important work. In the first six months of 2024, however, Fiorentina will continue to play at Franchi.”