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The flood and the new urban illumination:from the Enel to the Branzanti of Ravenna

The flood and the new urban illumination:from the Enel to the Branzanti of Ravenna

So it was the flood that imposed a serious reconstruction of the service in all its aspects. The flood that reached Florence destroyed many electric stations and cabins causing the complete darkness for a part of the city for several weeks. The main reason that pushed towards a brand new decision was certainly the destruction suffered by the citizens implants. Even if the awareness of the inadequate illumination was already its self an important reason for a drastic change.

The recontruction, that followed the flood, was finally based on clear ideas, they had been studied organic projects for the illumination of the city and for the first time they had been applied the dictates of the illumination techniques.

The high pressure sodium lights, with their yellow colour, had been multiplied, introduced for the first time in 1965, later on diffused to a larger perimeter since the seventies, these lights were able to save remarkables quantities of energy.In this period, the ignition of the lamps was done by a cabin situated in via Martelli near the Galileo's high school. Later on it had been created, in Palazzo Vecchio, an operative room from where it was led the decision of ignition and shut down of the city light points, exercising a continual control on the grid functioning and with immediate damage checks.

In 1967 the council administration decide to assume the responsability of the entire service, including the implant designs. The maintenance was initially assigned to the SIETTE and then to the Branzanti of Ravenna, that started its work on the first of January 1970. So in a few years everything changed, also due to the impulse carried on by The Florentine Council Pubblic Illumination Office directed by the engineer Paolo D'Elia

A position caracterized by a serious delay from a technological point of view, Florence managed to reach side by side if not overtaking, for that concerns the pubblic illumination, even big cities such as Rome and Milan.
 The situation got better in a short time , making dissapear the pubblic illumination from the urgent citizen problems list. The new Florentine pubblic illumination had been studied from a point of view that should had marked the clear differentiation between the center and the outskirt.

The most of the choices practiced, especially in the center, were due to the need in exalting the artistics beauties. The light of via dei Tornabuoni, inaugurated in 1979, represents on of the most unique illumination of its genus. The searchlights, provided by sodium lamps, that confer brilliance to the surrounding buildings located along on of the most elegant streets of the city, causes a completely new effect and at the same time illuminating the street and the palaces faces beneath the cornices.

So the city of tourism had to conciliate technology with art, and the aim was directed assigning to the artificial light the not easy task to enhance the value of some of the most enchanting places of the city. It is so explained the reason why old designs, of the 17th century, had been re-engaged for lanterns and chandeliers, proposed again in the convinction that the past is always more an image part of the city.

At last, we can not forget another important element that contributed to the increasement of the Florence pubblic illumination. In some moments of the year, the lights of the shop windows are equally an integral part of the pubblic illumination heritage although its origins are obviously private.


Comune di Firenze
Servizi dell'area fiorentina

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