Empoli is a town and municipality of about 50.000 inhabitants located in the metropolitan area of Florence, in the Region of Tuscany. The relevance of the City of Empoli as an attractor of labor force, concentration of economic activities and services has been an important asset in order to promote forms of economic and territorial planning which in some cases have been innovative in the frame of the national and European administrative territorial management practice. An important step in this direction has been the approval of a new intermediate level of administration, the “Circondario dell’Empolese Valdelsa” (Regional Law n. 38 - May 29, 1997). The Circondario promotes social and economic development, protection and upgrading of the local environmental and territorial resources, and was conceived as an area which includes the continuous territory of 11 “Comuni” - which roughly corresponds to the area of the “Sistema Locale del Lavoro” (SLL) or “Labor Market Area” of Empoli.

Empoli is located in the central position with respect to the most important demographically and economically areas of the Region, and it is characterized by a strong and diverse industrial specialization and an equally strong service connected structure.

The natural balance of the population of Empoli has been negative for more than a decade. On the other hand, the migratory balance has been constantly positive. The growth of immigrants of Chinese nationality was impressive, and today they make about 5% of the Empoli total residents (and 34% of the total immigrant residents in 2018). Nationalities such as Georgians, Nigerians, Senegalese and, until 2013, Romanians, are also considerably present among immigrants population.
Empoli economic activity it is not dominated by one industrial sector.  If during the sixties the industries of Clothing and Glass were employing the same number of employees, the 2011 census showed that the Glass production had been reduced in terms of employee, as in the case of the Wood and Furniture sector, while the Food sector had reached the level of employment of the Clothing industry.

The city of Empoli participated in the Regional Policy Instrument financed by the ERDF ROP of the Region of Tuscany for the programming period 2014-20: “Urban Innovation Projects” (PIU). The eligible area involves a part of the old town centre of Empoli, by means of the recovery and the redevelopment of a very significant public property of historic value. The area currently displays widespread urban decay, due to the partially abandoned buildings and socio-economic problems like the increase in youth unemployment, the ageing of the resident population and the growing presence of immigrants from outside the EU.

The PIU “HOPE, Home of People and Equality” helps to redevelop Empoli’s old town centre , with the aim of reducing social hardship in the field of social-health services through the restoration of buildings and areas to be allocated to social functions, creating an integrated system of services to support innovation and the socio-economic development of the territory, creating the functional and smart connection of the open public spaces related to the areas of action and promoting of social inclusion in order to improve the integration of the most marginalized and vulnerable categories of the resident population.

Discover more in the EURE Regional Report Empoli.