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The Lodge

text Martina Olivieri
photo Lorenzo Cotrozzi

June 29, 2021

The rebirth of the Ramps of Giuseppe Poggi

The Lodge brings new life to Giuseppe Poggi’s Rampe, with Nikkei cuisine and breathtaking views of the city

Below Piazzale Michelangelo there’s a place Florentine people are particularly fond of: Poggi’s Rampe. It was designed by the architect Giuseppe Poggi in the days when Florence was the capital of Italy, and its purpose was to stabilise the San Miniato hill with watercourses and drainage channels to prevent the build-up of water. This structural and environmental layout was accompanied by a grandiose and beautiful architectural composition: views over the city and garden features such as mosaics, grottoes, niches and mascarons combine, all brought together by water, which would spring from the top of the Rampe and continue as a constant element of the lower levels.

After years of abandonment, le Rampe have returned to life, thanks to a major restoration project instigated by the town hall and the CR Firenze Foundation. The work had three aims: to preserve the architectural and material elements of the system (grottoes, rock faces and basins), to instal a new water system, and to restore the area’s plant life. A redevelopment that has also nominated the entire area to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Completing the redevelopment is the new venue The Lodge, which has opened in the magnificent Chalet, built by Poggi in what was once the Bastion of the San Miniato hill’s charcoal kiln, and later converted into a store and workers’ house for the maintenance of the gardens and fountains.

After more than 25 years closed, the chalet, which has breathtaking views of Florence, will shine once again on summer evenings, thanks to the efforts of partners Lorenzo Segre, a prominent restaurant entrepreneur, Tommaso Corsini, an events organiser and producer, and Niccolò Manetti, a businessman and vice-president of the Florence Chamber of Commerce. Together, the three decided to put their faith in this project of urban redevelopment and - above all - revival for the whole city.

And the result is The Lodge, the new Florence venue to experience to the full, especially in summer. It’s a place of three parts - a fusion restaurant, a cocktail bar and an agora, or open space for shows and entertainment - with international style and unparalleled views of the city.

The restaurant at The Lodge is feature Nikkei cuisine, increasingly popular around the world. The style developed in the late 19th century following substantial Japanese migration to South America, where the eastern flavours of Japan began to blend with the local cuisine, already affected by European influence. So lime, potato and maize combine with dashi, tosazu and seaweed, giving rise to Nikkei cuisine. More than a simple style, it’s a meeting of different colours and cultures, a marriage of the eternal allure of Machu Picchu and the minimalism of Japan, resulting in astonishing flavours and eclectic combinations.

“Both at aperitif time and at dinner, you’ll be able to sample a wide range of dishes prepared by chefs with international experience. All will be accompanied by live entertainment, every night. Because The Lodge is not only a restaurant, but also a  Cocktail and Lounge Bar serving street food and aperitifs”, says Tommaso Corsini, one of the enthusiastic partners.

Guests can enjoy a cocktail and some street food in the Jungle garden, or watch the entertainment. The Lodge and The Jungle are unique places for the food culture, music and events that characterise summer in Florence, and for gatherings and conversation between leading figures in the city’s cultural, economic and political life.

Acclaimed Tuscan DJs, performers and artists have been signed up and, if anti-Covid rules permit, the hill of the Piazzale will once again be the favourite place of the people of Florence.  

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