The Basilica of Santissima Annunziata is one of the best-known Marian sanctuaries in the world. Of ancient origins, beyond its crucial role in the civil, social and religious history of Florence, its importance extends well beyond the city walls and the borders of Italy. The Basilica was subject to numerous transformations from the 13th century on.
Then in the Renaissance period it became an authentic cultural worksite when around a hundred Italian and Flemish artists were engaged in creating chapels and altars sponsored by the most important Florentine families. The artists involved in building up over the centuries the vast heritage of art contained inside the basilica included Andrea del Sarto, Volterrano, Jacopo da Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, Giambologna, Michelozzo, Bernardino Poccetti, PietroTacca, Passignano and Luca della Robbia.
The entire area comprising the Basilica, the buildings of the monumental complex (the Spedale degli Innocenti, the Loggiato dei Servi di Maria, Palazzo della Crocetta and Palazzo Grifoni) and the square designed by Brunelleschi and executed by Antonio da Sangallo in line with the Renaissance concept of the “ideal city”, represents an important architectural whole that is clearly defined within the civic context.
Having appraised the need for action to be taken on the Basilica complex, and taking its cue from the many operations funded for this area from 1998 on (€ 1,900,000.00), the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze has now launched a three-year project for the programmatic and total renovation of the monumental complex and the surrounding areas.
Going beyond the role of a mere financial sponsor to assume that of a guarantor of the programme, by agreement with the local institutions the Ente CRF has thus formulated a method that can be proposed for other areas of historic and artistic interest too. On the strength of ongoing and fruitful dialogue with the institutions, the Ente CRF has involved benchmark local bodies and private citizens: the Religious Buildings Fund of the Ministry of the Interior, the Florence City Council, the Superintendency and the Pucci family.
The first 120,000 euro have already been disbursed by the Ministry of the Interior for the first phase of the lighting project while the Florence City Council (partly thanks to international donations) has earmarked around 1,300,000 euro for the first urgent renovation operations. The overall cost of the three-year programme, to be shared with the City Council, is € 3,500,000 and Ente CRF has committed to a total disbursement of € 2,725,000 for the three year period 2015-2017.