AIPAI - Associazione Italiana per il Patrimonio Archeologico Industriale

January 29, 2017

Manifattura Tabacchi of Bologna

Text and pictures by Jacopo Ibello
Video by Denis Guzzo

Save Industrial Heritage and Pier Luigi Nervi Project make an appeal against the decay of one of the most important industrial heritage monuments of Italy, the Tobacco Factory (Manifattura Tabacchi) of Bologna.
It has spent more than one year since the beginning of the recovery works that will transform the historic factory of the Bolognina into a regional R&D Centre (Tecnopolo). After its shutdown in 2008, the Manifattura Tabacchi has become a decay and vandalism hideout. However, until the opening of the works, the high external walls protected the factory from heavy damage actions. We must not forget that this is one of the masterpieces of Pier Luigi Nervi. That’s why the Heritage Authority put a demolition restriction on the core buildings: only the administration and service buildings, considered less worthy, were demolished. In place of these, the first part of the Tecnopolo is under construction and will be integrated with the preserved parts.
Paradoxically, the beginning of the recovery works caused damage to the factory. Thefts, vandalism and graffiti have spread since then. The factory has become home of drug addicts and some fires have been set in the plant, putting at risk the remarkable vaults designed by Nervi.
We can’t accept that vandals and other delinquents are master of a monument during the works. It’s more unacceptable because the Manifattura Tabacchi is owned by a public body, the Region of Emilia-Romagna, which should be engaged in preserving its own cultural heritage.

The appealing associations ask security measures for the area, putting a fence where once the wall stand and creating a surveillance service. We also ask the organization of guided tours to let the people enjoy this great masterpiece of industrial architecture and to inform the citizens about the project that will relaunch the Manifattura Tabacchi. The good structural conditions make this last proposal absolutely viable, and even desirable, because we are talking about a cultural heritage, so the people have the right to enjoy its beauty and learn its history.
We address all organizations and enthusiasts of the industrial and cultural heritage, to spread this appeal by Save Industrial Heritage and Pier Luigi Nervi Project. The goal is to sensitize the authorities involved in the Tecnopolo project, to better protect this great heritage, the Manifattura Tabacchi by P. L. Nervi of Bologna.


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