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OFFICIAL: Italia Nostra appeal rejected, Viola Park construction can continue unimpeded

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Viola Park seems to have finally beaten the Italian bureaucracy

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-FIORENTINA-NAPOLI Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

The Florentine bureaucracy has done its best in recent years to halt the progress of Fiorentina. Even putting aside the crumbling Franchi, Rocco Commisso and co. have had to deal with their fair share of BS with their construction of Viola Park in Bagno a Ripoli. The state-of-the-art training facility represents Rocco’s first significant investment in the club and should help to attract players of a higher caliber and help our players be better prepared for matchdays. Most importantly, with Viola Park, the Fiorentina first-team, women’s team, academies, and front office workers will all be in one place rather than scattered around Firenze.

Progress was running smoothly with Viola Park until early March. That is, until Italia Nostra, an Italian environmental and historical conservation non-profit, lodged an appeal against Viola Park with the Tuscan Tribunale Administrivo Regionale (TAR). The group could not appeal to TAR directly, as too much time had passed since all of the project’s permits had been improved. Instead, they went directly to Italian president Sergio Mattarella, who referred the appeal to TAR. The group argued that as Viola Park was private speculation on agricultural land, the project could not continue forwards unless it was in the public interest.

Initially, TAR’s decision was supposed to take a few weeks. In classic Italian fashion, the decision arrived today, three months later. The appeal was rejected, not on the merits of Italia Nostra’s argument, but rather that the appeal was filed two days late. Italia Nostra has acknowledged the validity of the decision.

Bagno a Ripoli mayor Stefano Casini has lauded the verdict, saying “full speed ahead for the completion of this investment”. For their part, Fiorentina has stayed silent, in no small part due to how ridiculous they viewed the appeal in the first place. Construction did not stop on Viola Park due to the appeal, so it’s still scheduled to be finished by June 2022.

This decision is another win for Fiorentina and Rocco Commisso in the last couple of weeks, building off the momentum of hiring Gennaro Gattuso on May 25th. We’ll see what’s to come in the next few weeks, but with this decision an exciting summer continues for Fiorentina fans.

UPDATE: I guess I was too quick! Rocco has released a statement, saying he is “really happy” TAR rejected Italia Nostra’s appeal and that it proves Fiorentina was “scrupulous” in planning Viola Park.