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REPLICATE Site Florence

Country & City

  • Italy
  • Firenze


Contact Information

With a population of 377 587 people and 12 million tourists per year, Florence is not only a place with an impressive artistic heritage and literary history, beautiful landscapes, high-quality fashion and lifestyle, agricultural and gastronomy products, but it also has efficient digital public services, high-level industries in innovation and technology, and excellent training institutes.

By becoming one of the lead cities in the REPLICATE project, Florence aims to implement an integrated smart city plan (co-created together with local stakeholders in the framework of the FP7 project STEEP  and with the other two REPLICATE lighthouse cities) for the first smart district to be replicated and scaled up. The demonstration area is the Novoli urban park – a mixed-use area with residential and tertiary settlements with mobility infrastructure consisting of a highway, an airport, and a main station.

The actions to be implemented include energy efficiency and district heating with an innovative seasonal solar thermal storage for social housing, smart grid and energy-demand management with smart metering and mobile application for final users, public multivendor e-mobility infrastructures, advanced mobility services for citizens, data management and a smart city control room, smart lighting and intelligent systems (internet of things (IoT) pilot test on smart benches, smart waste and smart watering).

* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The REPLICATE team is working to accelerate the deployment of innovative technologies, organisational and economic solutions in order to significantly increase the resource and energy efficiency, improve the sustainability of urban transport and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas. The project therefore aims to enhance the transition process to a smart city in three areas:

  • Energy efficiency: achieve energy savings in relation to the existing situation in building retrofitting and in district heating exploiting renewable energy sources integration;
  • Sustainable mobility: integrate sustainable electric vehicles, recharging infrastructure and information mobility systems;
  • Integrated ICT infrastructures: develop a smart city platform delivering new sustainable and cost-effective services to citizens, while improving the efficiency and synergy in the use of local public resources and the delivery of public services.

Regulatory & Administrative

Regulatory & Administrative
Encountered barriers

The legislative framework development has represented the main obstacle to the deployment of the pilot action in Florence. The regulations, which mostly affected the implementation, were the national procurement code, the excavated soils regulation and the national incentives framework.

The new procurement code sets rules for the design and tendering procedures, thus causing a delay (and some additional costs to verify the design) in the scheduled activities. 

The excavated soils regulation affected the overall business model of the seasonal thermal storage. 

In order to cut down on the delay caused by the new procurement code, the team separated the Piagge project (retrofitting buildings, district heating and renewable energy sources hybridisation) into three lots. This approach could also support the exploitation of the national incentives, the availability of which is uncertain and limited in time.

With regards to the excavation soils regulation, the team resized the planned thermal storage, trying to balance the costs with the energy demand side and the expected performances.

Best Practices

Best Practices

Programme / Policy


Italy Social

To address the necessary change of consumption behaviour, the project has planned a number of technological solutions to engage the tenants. All 600 families (300 in Piagge buildings and other 300 in the district) will be provided with the smart info device to control their electric demand, and a gaming app will be at their disposal to increase awareness and monitor the overall energy consumption of families. A little friendly competition provided by the app will stress the impact of their choices on their energy consumption and promote new sustainable behaviours.

Italy Social

The energy efficiency action is going to involve the tenants of 300 flats in the Piagge buildings where the retrofitting and the district heating interventions will take place. A third party of the municipality in the project is Casa spa that manages the Piagge buildings, which is in daily contact with the tenants directly affected by the project activities. This will facilitate the communication and dissemination of the project and make the families more confident with the performed work and its impact.
The consistence of the interventions, timing, phases and expected results will be illustrated during on-site assemblies with the help of explaining totems/steles. An in situ info point will be provided by Casa spa to address technical questions in an empathic fashion. In addition, a sustainability helpdesk office is available for answering questions about incentives, and environmental and financial benefits. 

Italy Social

The model chosen for Florence foresees an internal steering group playing the role of the owner of the planning procedure and interacting with several ‘habitat teams’ formed by specific stakeholders and citizens. Every member of the internal steering group is in charge of a thematic: the internal referees coordinate the subgroups and refer to the steering team about the results. The coordination activities are carried out inside the internal group. 

From the perspective of active participation, which describes how the current administration adopts all of its plans, the communication plan to engage stakeholders and citizens was created on the basis of two primary tools: non-stop institutional communication and direct participation. Citizens have been reached through social media activities and by interacting with associations and representatives. A public debate, the Maratona dell’Ascolto, was organised to close the development phase, while a previous one was focused on the district which is now interested in the pilot action. The event was open to anyone interested in providing feedback or receiving information and more than 130 people attended. Comments and contributions were collected after the Maratona and a final version of the plan has been developed and will be submitted for formal adoption.



Programme / Policy


Italy Regulatory & administrative

With respect to the fast recharging stations for the e-taxi fleet, the permits procedure took more time and the action had to start in advance. The possibility of creating ‘recharging islands’ in order to exploit more of the locations already in use is also under consideration. On one hand, this will facilitate the search for recharging points; on the other, it will accelerate the building procedure.

Italy Regulatory & administrative

The restrictions to landscape and historical areas have to be taken into account in each measure in Florence, finding a different solution for each specific implementation. For example, the seasonal thermal storage has to be built underground (but not too deep due to the aquifer legislation) and the technical rooms need to be limited as much as possible, to avoid building new visible volumes (according to the ZERO Volume structural plan). Furthermore, the lamp posts and other street furniture like the smart benches have to be approved by the art superintendence, as well as by the landscape authorities.


* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The solutions demonstrated in Florence are:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
    • The retrofitting measures will be implemented in social housing blocks

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling
    • District heating is included in the interventions.
  • Thermal storage
    • Solar seasonal thermal storage is included in the interventions.
  • Smart street lighting
    • New intelligent lighting system based on light-emitting diode (LED) technology integrated with other services (traffic control, soft video surveillance, WIFI, environmental sensors,…)
Mobility & transport: 
  • Electric, hybrid and clean vehicles
    • More than 100 electric taxis
    • Fast recharge infrastructure reserved for e-taxi fleet
    • 228 public multivendor charging points in the city (40 in the district)
  • Smart electricity grid
  • Urban data platform
  • ICT as a planning support
    • Innovative IoT services - smart benches, smart waste, smart watering
  • Mobile applications for citizens
  • Demand response

SRT data