Project Spotlight

Il Bisonte and Architect Giacomo Salizzoni Ensure the Future of a Secret Garden in Florence

Part of a Florentine UNESCO World Heritage Site, an abandoned running track in the historic city center has been reinvigorated into the Orti Dipinti garden.

Architect Giacomo Salizzoni (center) at Il Bisonte's Pitti Uomo presentation in the Orti Dipinti garden.

In the heart of Florence’s city center sits a hidden urban garden where flowerbeds and apricot blossoms perfume the air. The urban idyll is the work of architect Giacomo Salizzoni, who cultivated the Orti Dipinti garden for ten years and built it into a space for the neighborhood denizens. On the site of an abandoned running track hidden behind a tree-line in a community park, residents helped Salizzoni transform it into a botanical oasis while learning about the healing properties of Madonna’s wort and virtues of earthworm composting along the way. When Il Bisonte CEO Luigi Ceccon caught wind of Salizzoni’s community-building in the city the leather goods company calls home, he knew he had to get involved.

“For years on Il Bisonte’s journal we’ve been telling stories of heroes all over the world who are fighting to change the future of the planet and its people,” says Ceccon. “And now we’ve discovered that one of them is actually quite nearby, so we’ve decided to share Giacomo’s story and also, simply, to be a part of it.” So Ceccon invested in the garden’s infrastructure with significant financial support, including the education of its board of directors and many volunteers by fostering the skills necessary to self-manage the garden and its programming. The brand will also support Salizzoni’s mission to erect a greenhouse so children and adults can visit no matter the weather.

This summer, Il Bisonte celebrated its partnership with Salizzoni and Orti Dipinti by hosting a presentation in the garden to showcase its new collection of vegetable-tanned leather and compostable bio-leather accessories during the Pitti Uomo fashion trade show. 

“Orti Dipinti stems from the desire to reconstruct the link between man and nature by creating an urban garden in the center of the city of Florence,” says Ceccon. “Salizzoni thought that the best way to put people in dialogue with plants was to create a place where they could live together. In his painted gardens adults and children learn to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs, to produce aromatic salts and herbal teas, and to produce ‘seed bombs’ to be thrown around the city.”

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