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  • Former Gasometer of Florence.zoom in altra finestra
  • Forme gasmeter of Florence: detail of the metal boundary structure.zoom in altra finestra

Former Gasometer

A short distance from the original headquarters of the Pignone Foundry, in the vicinity of the San Frediano Gate, the gas works that for almost a century was to supply the lighting systems of the city of Florence was built in the 1840s. The plot of land that Leopold II granted to the French company Cottin Jumel Montgolfier Bodin, thus found itself in a strategic location for its nearness to the old Pignone landing (recently brought back to light), that was essential for restocking carbonaceous rock which, from Great Britain, reached the port of Livorno by river. Of the gas tanks in the area built first by the Montgolfier company and, as of 1847 by the Société Civile Lyonnaise, only the most recently built one remains. It consisted of a large cylindrical basin in masonry, partially interred and measuring 35 m in diameter, and a metal perimetric structure composed of an iron mast that joined a series of columns about 15 m high. The basin filled with water was covered by a sheet-metal bell that rose or descended along vertical runners, depending on the gas introduced inside through the piping. A second line, again situated beneath the bell, made the gas flow out towards the city piping system. Pressure was regulated by the weight of the bell, while its tightness was ensured by means of the hydraulic locks of the basin. In 1933, the Tuscan Gas Company, that had taken over from the Lyonnaise Company in 1929, decided to transfer the works to Rifredi. Today, the old structure is the scenographic nucleus of a modern social centre.


Texts by Elena Fani

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 16/gen/2008