Last week brought the news that Rocco Commisso had rejected Florence mayor Dario Nardella and his office’s proposed price for the fabled Mercafir site as a possible new stadium location based on the €22 million price tag for the land, much less the various other improvements that would run the cost considerably higher, especially since there’s no guarantee about the quality of the land or a contractual date for completion of the construction, which are both sticking points for the Viola brass.
It’s a real blow to Fiorentina, which has publicly expressed a desire to move into the former supermarket for years and, with the fresh energy brought by Commisso may have hoped to finally achieve that long-awaited deal. However, this latest setback indicates that we could see the revival of other options mooted in the summer. Following reports that refurbishing the legendary Stadio Artemio Franchi would prove prohibitively expensive for either the club or the city, we’re probably looking at stadium in a suburb like Bagno a Ripoli or Scandicci.
After watching his team’s massive win at the Marassi over Sampdoria this weekend, Rocco’s heading back the the US, but you’d best believe that he’s left some instructions. According to CalcioMercato (not always the best source but pretty credible here), he’s left Joe Barone and company with instructions to pursue three paths with regards to the stadium.
The first is to continue working with Nardella and the city on the Mercafir site. In a lot of ways this is the best option for everybody, as it’ll keep the Viola inside the city limits of Florence. Mercafir has plenty of space for parking and retail facilities and is easily accessible by foot, bus, and private vehicle.
The next option is a move to another, as-yet-undetermined location within the city of Florence. While it’d be great to keep the stadium within the city limits, let’s not kid ourselves here. There are plenty of reasons there isn’t a whole lot of new construction in Firenze, but the big one is the insanely expensive cost of buying just a bit of the earth’s surface in one of the oldest, most-developed cities in Italy.
The final option is the move outside of the city limits. Campo Bisenzio (just west of the airport) has popped up as an option, as there’s a pretty good plot of land available on the Via Allende, but the previously-mentioned Scandicci and Bagno a Ripoli remain possibilities. We’re a bit cooler on this option; Fiorentina is Florence’s team, and moving it to a suburb doesn’t feel great, even if the move allows for a real stare-of-the-art, club-owned stadium. There’s precious little room for romance in the modern game and choices like this are part of the reason.
However, we can’t pretend that Fiorentina is immune to those pressures, and a new stadium could be pretty cool. Ultimately, though, we’re back where we’ve been for the past decade: waiting for various processes to work their way through the system. Unlike under the Della Valles, though, Rocco at least seems to be pursuing every possible lead, and that’s undoubtedly an improvement.