The memory of water
Florence has an intense relationship with its river: the Arno is part of the city’s history, its geography, its image and its very identity. Unfortunately, over the centuries, Florence has not only experienced its life-giving energy but also its destructive power: the Arno, in fact, has burst its banks on a number of occasions, causing damage and fatalities. The plates that are to be found on numerous façades indicate the height reached by the river: these are the numbers and dates that Florence wanted to engrave on its walls. In particular, on 4th November 1966, Florence experienced the most serious flood in its recent history: it was a dramatic and frightening episode, and the inhabitants’ memory of it is vivid. Looking around you, you will find numerous plates that commemorate it, but you will have to raise your gaze because the water reached heights of between 4 and the 5 metres. The official number of victims was thirty-five and the flood created unimaginable damage to pieces of Florence’s cultural heritage. Volunteers from all around the world came to the city to help supply food and shelter to the local population, and to save the pieces of art, becoming part of history with the name “mud angels”. Every year, locals expats and passers-by celebrate the anniversary of this painful event with talks, exhibitions etc. If you’re visiting the city, you could run into one of these events.
Anniversary of the 1966 Florence Flood
Address: Various locations in Florence