In memory of the devastating flood on November 4th, 1966, the Villa I Tatti is promoting CRIA (Committee to Rescue Italian Art), a task force made up of academics and researchers with a single mission: preserve the artistic and cultural patrimony of Florence. CRIA is an online exhibition that explores those days of difficulty and takes into consideration the central role Villa I Tatti played at the time.
The Uffizi, Accademia, National Library, State Archive, Duomo, and Ponte Vecchio, priceless artistic and cultural treasures concentrated in the historic center of Florence, all found themselves overtaken by the floodwaters. As soon as news reached the United States of the devastating flood, academics and enthusiasts for Italian culture rushed to Florence to save these treasures.
And so the Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA) was born and Villa I Tatti became a Florentine meeting point. The aim of the group was to raise funds to finance recovery efforts, both at the time of the disaster and for long term restoration projects.
Funds were raised through requests sent by post, advertisements, Italian art exhibitions, fashion shows, banquets, and video pleas by famous people, such as Ted Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as through the showing of the Franco Zeffirelli documentary, Days of Destruction, the exclusive rights to which CRIA held to show in the U.S. Americans responded with enthusiasm: CRIA came very close to reaching its financial goal.
Villa I Tatti is located in via Vincigliata, 26, Florence, not far from Fiesole. The former residence of art historian Bernard Berneson is today the home of The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, a center for Italian Renaissance studies.
The online exhibition is available at this link.