To mark the 50th anniversary of the November 1966 flood, the City of Florence, the Regione Toscana, the Civil Protection Department – Presidency of the Council of Ministers, #italiasicura – Office of the Mission against hydrogeological instability of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Reclamation Consortium, 3 Medio Valdarno and Comitato Firenze2016 are promoting a programme of events to welcome those volunteers who helped Florence in times of need and emergency, known affectionately as the Mud Angels.
Within the institutional programme of commemorative events are some dedicated specifically to the Mud Angels. Including:
On November 4, at 9am, at the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, an extraordinary City Council meeting will be held with the Mud Angels in attendance. Immediately afterwards will be a Mud Angels rally. The city will honour the volunteers who return to Florence 50 years later through speeches by the highest city officials and members of the city council. During the rally, there will also be speeches from the Mud Angels, as well as a previously unpublished Franco Zeffirelli interview by RAI and two songs composed especially for the occasion by Giuseppe Lanzetta with an orchestra. The ceremony will end at approximately 1pm. Additional space will be set up inside the palazzo to ensure a larger number of spectators can attend the rally. The entrance will be open to all, although you will be invited to show the badge distributed in Piazza dell’Unità on 2, 3 and 4 November.
At 11:30am, there will be a Mass at Santa Croce celebrated by Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, who was also a Mud Angel. Seven other Mud Angel bishops will be present in Florence during the days of commemoration. At 1pm, a small procession will reach Ponte alle Grazie to lay wreaths in memory of the victims of the Arno flood.
During the day, the stamp dedicated to the Mud Angels will be officially presented with Poste Italiane President and Secretary Giacomelli d’Arme in Palazzo Vecchio’s Sala d’Arme.
At about 3pm, the relocation ceremony of the restoration of Vasari’s Ultima cena to Santa Croce will be held with attendance by the President of the Republic and at 5pm, the official ceremony will be held in Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento again with the President of the Republic.
At 6:30pm: the world premiere of the new documentary “Dopo l’alluvione” in the Salone dei Cinquecento. The documentary was produced by SKYARTEHD and E. Pacciani.
On the same day, November 4 at 8:30pm, a torchlight procession will begin at the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte and end at Piazza Santa Croce in memory of the same organised on November 4, 1967. Mud Angels, as well as the general public, especially young college students, Italian and foreign, are invited to participate in the vigil. The aim of the evening is precisely to mark the “handover” of care and commitment for Florence from the generation of 1966 to that of 2016.
On November 5, the “Arno sicuro”. Opere, investimenti, cantieri Plan will be presented in Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento, organised by #Italiasicura and the Regional Tuscan Government. The plan will present the works in progress to ensure maximum safety along the Arno.
November 6 will be a day dedicated entirely to volunteers. The program includes the ribbon cutting of an exhibition on floods in Tuscany at the headquarters of the Regional Tuscan Council, Via Cavour 2/4 – Florence, at 9:30am. From 11:30am, at Florence’s Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina 99, will be a meeting on the theme “Civil protection and volunteering today”, attended by institutional leaders of the Tuscan Regional Government, the City of Florence and the National Civil Protection Department, who will listen to representatives from the national and local civil protection bodies.
From 10-11am in the Sala Pegaso at Palazzo Strozzi Sacrati (Piazza Duomo 10 – Florence), the President of the Tuscan Regional Government, Enrico Rossi, will mark a moment of reflection on what has been done and what needs to be done to reduce the risk of landslides and floods. The meeting will include speeches from, among others, the President of the Regional Council, Eugenio Giani, the Assessor for the Environment and Soil Protection, Federica Fratoni and the President of ANCI Toscana, Matteo Biffoni. This event is reserved for mayors affected by floods.
Later in the day, “La cittadella della Protezione Civile” set up in Piazza Santa Croce – Florence will be opened to the public. From 3pm, there will a demonstration by Civil Protection at the Museo Casa R. Siviero, Lungarno Serristori, 1 – Florence.