Swept Away: Memories of the 1966 Florence Flood: A conversation with two eye-witnesses


In the wake of torrential rains that had swelled not only the Arno, but all rivers in Tuscany, in the early hours of Friday, 4 November 1966, engineers in charge of the Valdarno dam upriver from Florence, fearing that the dam would burst, discharged a mass of water that eventually reached the outskirts of Florence at a rate of 60 kilometres per hour. When the waters reached the Ponte Vecchio, they started to back up and rise catastrophically, quickly spilling over the river’s high banks and flooding the entire historic centre of Florence. Muddy water, contaminated with car fuel and other noxious matters, swept through churches, museums, and libraries, destroying countless treasures and triggering an international rescue campaign, much of it carried out by hundreds of young people, soon named “the Mud Angels” (gli Angeli del fango). On this fiftieth anniversary of the flood, come and join with us to hear about the devastating event from two people who were there and saw it first-hand.