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You may also find this general presentation useful.
The Nidiaci is a community garden, self-managed by the local community, in the San Frediano district in Florence’s Oltrarno, right behind the Carmine church where the Renaissance began.
The Oltrarno, though under heavy assault by real estate speculation and the tourism industry, is still the last part of the old town of Florence which has not yet been turned into a Disneyland of the Renaissance, and is inhabited by a lively community of people of very diverse origin.
The area currently called Nidiaci is the heart of this community.
Here will find a longer article on the history of this garden, which involves a thirteenth century widow, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Vittorio Alfieri and a host of other characters.
Here we need only say that in 1920, Edward Otis Bartlett, commissioner of the American Red Cross mission in Italy, used ARC funds to buy the whole area and turn it into a community center for the children of the impoverished San Frediano district.
Implementation was entrusted to artist and designer Carlo Matteo Girard and lawyer Umberto Nidiaci.
In 1923 the area was entirely opened to the children of San Frediano, but ownership remained confused.
In 2012, a real estate company took over the building in the garden, turning it into luxury apartments, and driving the children out.
After continuous protests, local families established an association (Associazione Amici del Nidiaci in Oltrarno Onlus) which in 2013 signed an agreement with the town government: on a totally voluntary basis, the association currently keeps the garden open.
The association became a key actor in the community life of San Frediano, bringing people of very different backgrounds together, making the incredibly rich history of the district known to its inhabitants and working together with others to defend the community in hard times.
THE NIDIACI TODAY
With the Lebowski team, we have set up the only free football school for children in Florence.
We are building an orchestra involving the families of the district.
We provide free English and singing lessons, and organise countless other activities.
We are all unpaid volunteers, so we generally open only when weather and light allows us (from March to November), and may sometimes be closed during the summer holidays.
If you want to come and visit us, you can make sure first by sending an e-mail or by calling us:
tel. (+39) 349 157 52 38