Florence bids to host Grand Départ of Tour de France

Italian city bidding for right to host opening stages of Tour as part of regeneration plan for the region.

It comes as some surprise that Italy has not yet hosted the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, however, that may all change in the near future.

Central Italian city Florence is reported to be bidding for the rights to hold the opening stages of the Tour in the coming years as part of its “Rinasce Firenze” regeneration program.

“We want to collaborate with Emilia Romagna to host the initial stage of the Tour de France close to the Apennines,” said Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence. “Our desire is to attract the major international sporting events to the city… on this, I also think of the collaboration already started with Emilia Romagna for the 2032 Olympics.”

“Emilia-Romagna has started the candidacy for the Grand Départ in recent weeks. That would be a historic event. The Tour de France has already started from many countries outside France, but never from Italy,” Nardella said during the presentation of the “Rinasce Firenze” plan this week. “By joining forces from two regions, such as Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, we have a very strong candidacy for a Tour de France start in the coming years.”

The Tour switches between basing its opening salvo of stages on home turf and foreign soil, with international Grand Départs designed to expand the footprint and fanbase of the race. While this year’s event will be held in Nice, southern France, the opener will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2021.

The Grand Départ has ventured as far from France as Yorkshire (UK) and Utrecht (the Netherlands), yet has never yet visited the passionate tifosi of Italy. That may all change soon.