A home of art, culture and solidarity for Florence with multi-functional spaces open to the community and, in particular, young people to make beauty, training and education a collective asset.

Florence, May 22 – Today the site of the San Firenze complex, which will house the operational offices of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) from next fall, is being visited by the Mayor Dario Nardella, together with Laura Biancalani, the Foundation’s President, as another sign of the city’s restart. Here, on Monday, May 18, the renovation work on the second floor of this famous baroque building – which was formerly the Court of Florence – was already getting underway.

As announced in the Spring of 2019, the renovation of the Foundation’s spaces in the San Firenze complex, which were granted by the City of Florence, will not only host ABF’s offices, but also rooms for creating a special cultural project that is primarily for the children and young people who live in the City of Florence, in line with ABF’s mission of “Empowering people and communities”.

“We are pleased – said Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence – that the renovation work on the rooms that will be used by the Foundation has begun. It is a great sign that we are starting again in this first step of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 emergency. We would like to thank Maestro Bocelli once again for choosing our city for this innovative project that will link San Firenze, one of the most significant baroque complexes in the heart of the city, to initiatives dedicated to the arts, culture and solidarity”.

This project stems from our desire to further strengthen and expand ABF’s ties with the city of Florence. The idea to establish the Foundation’s new headquarters here came from dialog with the institutions and, most importantly, the City Council – says Laura Biancalani – We hope that this place will come to contain the organizations that demonstrate and perpetuate the cult of art, of enhancing the talent of our young people, of going good, and of culture. It is precisely during this time of lockdown that we have experienced how precious the cultural heritage of our country and the city of Florence is. We have come to understand the value of music even more as an element that brings us together, of solidarity towards our neighbor as the key that can break down barriers and build bridges. We are confident that we will be able to demonstrate all this with our work and the activities we will create in this place.

Indeed, part of the second floor will be dedicated to the creation of permanent and/or temporary laboratories for citizens, young people and students from the area, as well as those that come from other regions and countries. The concept of a “living laboratory”, which is near and dear to ABF, will take shape through the creation of real spaces designed for meeting, training, exchanging views and enhancing talent. The intention is not merely to open the doors to the community, but to also return important spaces that are steeped in history to it, by giving these spaces a new lease of life and planning activities that are divided into initiatives targeted at young people to help them overcome the limits imposed by socio-economic hardship and offer career/training advice.

Even during the pandemic emergency, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation never ceased to support the communities it works in, as well as the young people who are the favored beneficiaries of its empowerment projects. That is why, following on from the fundraiser dedicated to supporting hospitals in central Italy, including Florence, ABF has recently launched “With You, to shape the future”. The campaign will support the pilot project dedicated to innovating distance learning, in order to continue to develop the potential of the younger generations via ABF’s educational projects.

The link between the city and the Foundation – which was established in 2011 by the most famous Italian tenor in the world – has grown over the years through major events, such as Celebrity Fight Night in Italy, which, thanks to Maestro Bocelli, has brought outstanding guests to Florence (from Queen Rania of Jordan to George Clooney) and focused the international spotlight on the city for the charity marathons on several occasions. It is thanks to these charity marathons that the first five ABF schools in Haiti were built, which provide free access to education, food and health care to over 2,550 children from the poorest and most remote parts of the country.