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A "diffused wood"embellishing the arcades of Bologna with plant and greenery

Not just towers and tortellini: the city of Bologna is famous also for its arcades, which “protect” the city itself for a length of 62 kilometres, 42 of which in the old town alone.

A universally recognized wealth, so much so that recently the arcades of the city of Bologna were officially awarded the “Italian candidature for the Unesco World Heritage List ”. It’s a great and well-deserved goal and a result of the whole community.

Unfortunately the arcades, born in ancient times as a shelter from the rain and a space to foster sociality, are nowadays often victims of degradation and of demeaning writings that disfigure their beauty. What to do then? Gioia Gardo, a literature teacher in a middle school of the city, launched an innovative project over a year ago, “Diffused wood in Bologna”, which is experiencing a real boom, also thanks to the fuss guaranteed by social media.

The proposal is as simple as it is ‘revolutionary’: exhorting each condominium or economic and business activity to adopt one arch of an arcade, embellishing it with a vase or a plant.

Institutions have also joined the project, in particular the District of Saragozza: friends, students and professionals, starting with several gardeners. Gioia Gardo’s idea was also included among the new proposals that can be voted on, from November 16 to December 5, for the “Participatory budget of the City of Bologna”.

“Anyone can be a protagonist and participant – as Gioia Gardo explains –. It is sufficient to make a list of suitable plants, with a preference for those that absorb more carbon dioxide; place them in order to leave the space in the centre; take care of the maintenance, perhaps by building policy packages together with cooperatives and volunteers. In a short time the city would have its diffused wood, with little expense and many advantages for everyone”.

Giovanni Fulco is one of the current coordinators of the project ‘Diffused wood in Bologna’. “It offers a lot of benefits – he explains –. Decorum, revaluation of the buildings in the areas concerned, tourist attraction, a lowering of the temperature, reduction of exhaust gases and the re-consolidation of citizenship in relation to a shared project. We are therefore working to further expand the number of participants, involving more and more owners, tenants, merchants, trade associations, also in agreement with the Districts and the Municipality ”.

VEG-GAP Project - LIFE18 PRE IT 003
Duration: December 2018 - May 2022
Total Budget: 1,666,667 Euro
European Financial Contribution: 1,000,000 Euro
Coordinated by Mihaela Mircea, ENEA (IT)