FLORENCE – Sara Funaro headed towards Palazzo Vecchio

The center-left candidate Sara Funaro will be the new mayor of Florence. Her competitor, former director of the Uffizi Gallery Eike Schmidt, running for the center-right, lagged significantly behind in the polls. Born in Florence in 1976 and of Jewish descent, Funaro will be the first female mayor of the Tuscan city. Funaro is the granddaughter of the Catholic intellectual Piero Bargellini, who served as mayor from 1966 to 1967, dealing with the challenges posed by the November 1966 Arno River flood, which killed a hundred of people and destroyed millions of masterpieces of art and rare books. Her father is the architect Renzo Funaro, current vice president of the Foundation for Jewish Cultural Heritage in Italy, and president of the Jewish Temple Opera in Florence.
Funaro has served as councilor in the Florence municipality during the last two administrations under outgoing mayor Dario Nardella. She initially handled Welfare and Health, Housing, Equal Opportunities, Reception, and Integration (2014-2019), and later focused on Welfare and Health, Immigration, and Education (2019-2024). During her electoral campaign, she highlighted how in her family, “cultural and religious differences have always represented an opportunity for enrichment, dialogue, and mutual respect.”
Born in Germany in 1968 and recently naturalized as an Italian citizen, her competitor Heike Schmidt is currently the director of the Museum and Royal Park of Capodimonte in Naples. A renowned expert in European Renaissance and Baroque sculpture, he was the first foreign director of the Uffizi Gallery. During his tenure, he hosted various initiatives and exhibitions on Jewish themes, including “All the Colors of Jewish Italy: Precious Fabrics and Textiles from Ancient Jerusalem to Modern Prêt-à-Porter” in 2019, and a more recent exhibition on “The Jews, the Medici, and the Ghetto.”