Pisa, stallholders try: damaged by virus, we want to return to Piazza dei Miracoli. But no one wants them there

The stallholders are pawing to return to Miracle Square, under the 'excuse' of coronavirus crisis. But no one wants them and they collect a series of no's.

In Pisa, the owners of stalls selling souvenirs near Piazza dei Miracoli are in a tizzy: they are in fact pawing their way back to Piazza dei Miracoli, with the... coronavirus excuse. According to Gianmarco Boni, president of the Consorzio “Pisa dei Miracoli,” which brings together merchants, the pandemic has damaged their businesses, which therefore need a more prestigious location to attract buyers. “The situation is dramatic, comparable to the post-World War II period,” Boni said. “Then the businesses were placed in Cathedral Square. Today the situation is similar, which is why we are asking to return to where we have always been. The monuments in Cathedral Square will reopen only at the end of May, and the regional and national borders will reopen from June 3. Until then there is no point in restarting. However, the outlook is not positive given the likely absence of tourists, especially foreigners. Added to this are the severe restrictions that have been imposed on us involving forced routes and the possibility of working only with the front of the stalls. This is why it becomes essential to resume dialogue with Mayor Michele Conti for a solution that will free us from Piazza Manin.”

The solution proposed by the stallholders is a five-year moratorium that would allow the activities to return to Piazza dei Miracoli, “with upgraded and removable structures and focusing on products made in Italy and made in Tuscany,” adds Boni, who concludes, “We hope that the Superintendence, which has always denied us this permission, understands that we are living an extraordinary moment.”

In short, according to the stallholders there is probably a connection between the location of their activities and the absence of tourists due to the pandemic. The City of Pisa had found a solution, and had earmarked for the stalls the Umi-1 area, an outdoor area within the Santa Chiara hospital complex (adjacent to the square), which is currently being decommissioned, but the Covid-19 emergency has changed the game, since a unit has been created in the emergency room area to deal with the emergency: it is also likely, however, that when the emergency is over, Umi-1 will be back on hand.

In any case, the stallholders’ proposal to return to the Miracles Square has already garnered several no’s. The first is that of theOrder of Architects of Pisa, which thunders, “as citizens and as professionals we intend to remember how Piazza del Duomo does not belong only to the Pisan stallholders, but is a common good, belonging to all Pisan citizens, to the national community and, as a UNESCO site, to all humanity. We therefore find it inconceivable that any category still thinks it can circumvent the norm to deal with a crisis that we are all experiencing dramatically. The deep distress cannot be addressed by circumventing a law, but by persevering in applying it, not disregarding the protection and preservation of heritage.” Along the same lines is the committee Mai più bancarelle in Piazza dei Miracoli, which expresses “regret and disbelief at the attempt to exploit a dramatic event in order to re-propose a now-closed issue: such a solution is prevented by laws, common sense, and the will of the city.” The committee proposes that the stalls be confined to the exchange parking lot on Via Pietrasantina, more than a kilometer away from the tower.

Mayor Michele Conti, who is also opposed to the return of the stalls under the cathedral, rules out the hypothesis but proposes a mediation by pitching the idea of distributing the stalls in different parts of the city. “For the stalls,” said the first citizen, “we can reason on the hypothesis of a ’diffuse’ location along the entire tourist axis of the city: some in the parking lot of Via Pietrasantina where the buses arrive, others near the Museum of the Ships passing through Piazza Manin and Via Santa Maria. It is certain that the current ’assemblage’ must be overcome, finding a viable solution without neglecting the long-term hypothesis of placement in the Santa Chiara area. On this basis we will continue to discuss with the trade associations in the collective interest and revitalization of our city, which must become attractive again for national and international tourism after this forced stop due to the health emergency.”

Photo: the stalls in Piazza Manin (at the entrance to Piazza dei Miracoli) in Pisa.

Pisa, stallholders try: damaged by virus, we want to return to Piazza dei Miracoli. But no one wants them there
Pisa, stallholders try: damaged by virus, we want to return to Piazza dei Miracoli. But no one wants them there

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