Docomomo International, as also Docomomo Italy are willing to raise awareness regarding the risk of being demolished that the Ex Panificio Militare, Florence, Italy, 1933, is facing, due to a project that foresees the complete demolition of the complex to build on the same site a new shopping center.
Dating from the period between both world wars, the Ex Panificio Militare, former Military Bakery, complex is composed by several different buildings that form a trapezoidal insula within a densely built urban area of Florence.
Even not having any specific and valuable architectural characteristics, the complex has a local cultural and social interest. It “has a historical value first of all, since for the function it appears to have performed at national level (that of supplying bakery products for the armed forces) remained in Italy a unique complex of its kind.” Furthermore it “is a reference of enormous identity value for the urban context in which it is located.”
Been abandoned for decades, “the neighborhood, which despite the opportunity to see yet another supermarket built in the area has been divided, has been waiting for a revival of the area for some time.” However now, “after about two years, it seems that the bureaucratic procedures have gone ahead and that the sad time has come for the former Military Bakery, which has been abandoned for some time, to be eliminated forever.
It would have been more than possible, and even more interesting culturally, to design an excellent shopping center by including the reuse of historic buildings. Instead, we do not know for what reasons, the path of the tabula rasa, which will roughly erase the great value of a work that we will have to regret for who knows how many decades to come.”
Summing up, as Docomomo Italy stated, “more than in reference to the Italian architectural heritage of the 1900s, (…) the question should be framed in a series of initiatives, both internal and external to the Florentine historic center, which contradict the connected objectives registration in the World Heritage List risking to irreversibly affect the landscape and cultural values of the city. (…) It is in this context that the memories of one of the most representative cities of Italian history and culture come into play, prompting a conscious reflection on generalized demolition operations of buildings and complexes which, like the former Military Bakery, play a prevalent, if not exclusive relational interest, in close reference with the history of the city.”