Today is the 47th Anniversary of the 1966 Flood. The Arno River flood of November 4, 1966 killed many people and damaged or destroyed millions of masterpieces of art and rare books in Florence. It is considered the worst flood in the city’s history since 1557.
With the combined effort of Italian citizens and foreign donors and committees, or angeli del fango (“Mud Angels”), many of these fine works have been restored. New methods in conservation were devised and restoration laboratories established. However, even decades later, much work remains to be done.
The flood has had a lasting impact on Florence, economically and culturally. City officials and citizens were extremely unprepared for the storm and the widespread devastation that it caused.
Tragically, 5,000 families were left homeless by the storm, and 6,000 stores were forced out of business. Approximately 600,000 tons of mud, rubble, and sewage severely damaged or destroyed numerous collections of the written work and fine art for which Florence is famous. In fact, it is estimated that between 3 and 4 million books/manuscripts were damaged, as well as 14,000 movable works of art. (Source : Wikipedia)
…At 2.30 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, 1966, the Civil Engineering Department in Florence declared that there was “an exceptional quantity of water” and the city’s drains were unable to cope. Suddenly, manhole covers popped off and powerful jets gushed in the air. Basements flooded around the Santa Croce and San Frediano areas. The first electricity failures were reported as fuses began to blow.
…The greatest loss was the Crucifixion by Giovanni Cimabue, the Father of Florentine Painting, in the Santa Croce Museum. The water there rose thirteen feet and the painting was ruined. (source : a tuscan trilogy)
Below you can see a photo taken by Joseph Blaustein, the only color photo i’ve seen from the morning after the flood.
And here a photo I took 7 years ago. Due to the 40th anniversary of this tragical event,large photos like this one were put along the river and some at the center of the city…