Stadio Artemio Franchi revamp met with legal challenge

Featured image credit: Arup

The Municipality of Florence has played down the potential impact of an appeal lodged against the redevelopment of Stadio Artemio Franchi, home of Serie A football club Fiorentina.

The appeal has been filed to the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR) against the Ministry of Culture, Florence’s superintendence and the Municipality by Fondation PLN Project. The non-profit organisation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of renowned Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi, who died in 1979.

The Franchi was designed by Nervi and is considered one of the best examples of European architecture from the 20th century. To this end, the outlined plans for a significant redevelopment of the stadium have been met with considerable opposition.

PLN has been one of the vocal opponents, with the Municipality telling La Nazione: “The news is not surprising and has no direct influence on the tender procedures in progress, since it is a project with all the opinions in line with the rules and decrees of the Ministry of Culture and financed with funds complementary to the PNRR (Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan).

“Moreover, the national standard for PNRR projects to prevent the appeals from jeopardising compliance with the timetable provides for particularly stringent and explicit reasons that the appellant must have expressed in order to be able to accept the appeal.”

The Municipality owns the historic Franchi and is leading its renovation project. The venture has been met with multiple challenges and in April, the European Commission confirmed that Italy had been barred from directing almost €150m (£128.4m/$161.5m) of COVID-19 recovery funds towards major stadium projects in Florence and Venice, €55m of which was destined for the Franchi.

Fiorentina will require a temporary home for two seasons whilst the €193.4m redevelopment of the Franchi takes place, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella said in March. 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.

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. Under the plans, the new capacity of the stadium will be at least 40,000.