On this day, the 4th of November in 1966, Florence was literally underwater as the worst flood in the city’s history caused major damage and destruction. Our local fruit and vegetable shop’s owner, Simone sent me some amazing photos of our street and the surrounding neighborhood with me so I thought I would share them here.
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.
With the combined effort of Italian citizens and foreign donors and committees, many of these fine works have been restored. These volunteers were given the name of Angeli del Fango (“Mud Angels”). The Angels cleaned the city of refuse, mud and oil, and retrieved works of art, books and other materials from flooded rooms.
Many of the buildings in the historical center have a marble plaque showing the height that the water reached. There is one on the San Niccolo Church (above) and another on the Tower in Piazza Poggi. Our apartment would have been underwater so let’s hope that history never repeats!
There is a really interesting website, The Florence Flood dedicated to the flood where you can find many more fascinating photos.