Given the 50th anniversary of the flood, the Progetto Firenze 2016 committee and Opera di Santa Croce (in collaboration with CIFT – the Italian Thematic Philately Centre) thought it fitting to set up this exhibition in one of the most symbolic places associated with the 1966 tragedy. There are 4 collections related to the flood theme:

1) The “Temple” of Santa Croce in Florence: Franco Fanci’s collection illustrates one of the places most devastated by the flood of 1966. Inside the basilica, many 14th century frescoes were washed away or had their colors stripped off. There is a particular focus on the Cimabue crucifix, which suffered much damage, some of it irreparable.

2) The Arno river and floods: author Fabrizio Fabrini retraces, using stamps, paper slips and philatelic material, the flow and history of this river, showcasing its dual identity: a simultaneous source of wealth and of unpredictable weather and danger. This collection was created to help spread awareness about what happened during November 1966, as well as to promote a keen sensitivity toward environmental prevention measures and civic protection—so that future generations will be able to approach the issue with increased know-how.

3) Sustainability Project: this is a series of mini-collections of stamps that explore environmental, social and economic themes, symbolizing our human obligation to aim for sustainability. The series presented confront topics including climate issues, scarcity of resources, renewable energy sources, protection of nature and food waste, and all have the extraordinary quality of highlighting history through piece-by-piece images. This group project, curated by CIFT, was also displayed at EXPO 2015 in Milan, where the subjects presented in these stamps and postal documents had an immediate educational impact on visitors.

4) Earthquakes: using philatelic material, author Marco Occhipinti explains why earthquakes occur, what provokes them and what we can do to prevent them. This collection doesn’t aim to give a scientific overview, but to illustrate past earthquakes and how these have influenced populations and the way in which people communicate—through the postal system, that is.

Emanuele Plata, president of PLEF (Planet Life Economy Foundation) confirmed that, in all of these collections, you can clearly see the didactic power of the stamp, as well as how they reveal symbolic signs from different countries on a certain subject. Stamps can be used to explore a theme in depth: they can also serve to frighten, gratify, commemorate and pique public curiosity.