eike schmidt who will run for Florence Mayor

Former Uffizi director to run for Florence mayor

By Region Central Italy News

Eike Schmidt, the German-born former director of the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, announced his intention to run for Florence mayor in June’s elections. He will be in coalition with the far-right parties.

The decision of Schmidt to run for mayor with Italy’s far-right coalition has sparked controversy and raised concerns among the left.

Schmidt, known for his modernisation efforts at the Uffizi, aims to address issues like security and over-tourism in Florence. The city has been a stronghold for the left.wing for some time. His candidacy, announced after months of speculation, aligns him with a coalition led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, the League, and Forza Italia.

Schmidt stated, “Since July last year, when it emerged that my second mandate as director of the Uffizi was not renewable, there were Florentines who stopped me in the street and encouraged me to run for mayor. I asked them what needs to be done better and what their problems are and, over time, collected a whole series of observations. I know that Florence has great challenges, from security to over-tourism, but degradation and safety are the main ones.”

He plans to seek permission from the Ministry of Culture to campaign. However, if he were to win, he would have to step down from his current role as director of the Capodimonte Museum in Naples.

Naturally others have raised objections regarding the potential return to Capodimonte should Schmidt be unsuccessful, concerned about his required impartiality in the post. Vincenzo De Luca, the president of the Campania region, said he considered Schmidt’s move “offensive for Naples, for Campania and for the world culture in our country”.

“I find the idea of keeping the management of the Capodimonte in abeyance pending the outcome of the municipal elections in Florence unacceptable,” De Luca said.

Irony of Schmidt’s alliance with the right

Schmidt’s candidacy poses a significant challenge for left-wing parties in Florence, where the right-wing coalition has gained ground in recent years. Despite his past clashes with the right, Schmidt’s alliance with them underscores the shifting political landscape.

It is somewhat ironic that Schmidt places himself with the right, following the right-wing government’s move to place Italians at cultural institutions rather than foreigners, as much as possible. Indeed, Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said last year he found it “strange” so many foreigners had the top jobs.

However, Sangiuliano now suggests Schmidt’s candidacy promotes European unity.

Schmidt himself identifies as a centrist, emphasising his commitment to democracy and antifascism. In December last year, Schmidt described himself as “more as an Aristotelian centrist than a representative of the right.”

Leave a Reply