| Interventions

The artwork, created within a flood-control basin, lies on the northern side of the Stepping Stone intervention that was built four years earlier.


It consists of a series of canals and islets that follow on from one another and spread out in all directions at regular intervals. This regularity recalls the characteristic appearance of the outer membrane of a common genus of ciliates (protozoa) in stagnant water: the Coleps.


Inspired by an interplay of proportions established between something very small (a micro-organism) and something very big (a natural environment), the artwork invites us to reflect on the size of the sites in relation to the role that these – depending on the scale of the territory examined – can play for the life of the species. Indeed, if we think of most species of aquatic birds, the entire area in question, which is seemingly so large, is actually rather small if we associate its dimensions with its true capacity to be a suitable habitat for long-term stays. Indeed, on a local territorial scale, the new wetland certainly assumes an important role, but only as a temporary stopover site (or “stepping stone”) for these species of birds transiting across the plain. Nonetheless, thanks to the presence of this new wetland, other larger habitats in this area, which are more suited to act as places of long-term residence for these bird populations, are now strengthened because they are better connected to each other (with greater chances of individual exchanges).    


Today, it is no longer possible to think that we can still protect the natural environment and preserve typical biocenosis by only maintaining some small patches of habitat here and there. It is necessary to reason on the real needs of the species and the quality of environments in terms of functionality, capacity and the possibility of connectivity across the territory. The adoption of this kind of vision of the territory is the most important challenge for planners in the coming years.


The artworks Stepping Stone and Coleps interpenetrate and complete one another. Within the same peri-urban park, there are now many different environmental conditions suitable for various species. This also results in variegated perspectives and changing environmental aspects during the different seasons. 






Carlo Scoccianti


Area of intervention

San Donnino, Campi Bisenzio (Florence).
The area is located within the Site of Community Importance (SCI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA) of the Stagni della Piana Fiorentina e Pratese (Natura 2000 code IT5140011).


Status before intervention

Flat countryside area encircled with embankments. Used as a controlled overflow basin for water from the adjacent channel.


Type of intervention

New wetland (2.5 hectares) constructed with mechanical equipment over a pre-existing overflow basin. The artwork was then completed by planting aquatic and riparian species thanks to groups of volunteers (social art intervention).


Work status

Completed (February 2016).


Authorities/agencies involved

- Consorzio di Bonifica Area Fiorentina

- Comitato per le Oasi WWF dell'Area Fiorentina

- Municipality of Campi Bisenzio


Main bioindicators used to monitor the ecological functionality of the work-site

- Waders: stopover during migration.

- Great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus): nesting.

- Common reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus): nesting.