In the blink of an eye, there are those who swear that still today they can see that small green Fiat loaded with bread. Someone called it the giardiniera, but it hardly matters. It had a body made of metal and wood. A car so particular that you couldn’t possibly forget it. But what’s interesting to know is that that car left every morning from Grezzano to bring loafs of bread and baguettes to Florence and other flooded areas outside the city.
Of course, the flood didn’t just strike the capital; the whole region was affected. And the whole region mobilized. “We helped each other,” witnesses continue to say. There are even those who left from Viareggio with rafts in tow, ready to row through the centre of Florence, transporting people and foodstuffs. A sincere and widespread solidarity, sure, but when we think of what happened, Florence is almost always at the centre. And yet, half of Tuscany, in that distant (but not too distant) 1966 was submerged under the waters, from Montevarchi to Scandicci, Prato to Grosseto, Pisa to Empoli, Pontedera to Santa Croce. It’s a legitimate point that some Facebook users on the “Toscana Firenze 2016” Facebook page have expressed, their indelible memories coming to the surface.
- “I experienced it in Grosseto, I was 15 years old.”
- “I’d like to remind everyone that on November 4th, 1966, there was a flood in Grosseto too. For the record.”
- “I was six years old, I lived in Viareggio. My mother’s cousins tied the rafts to the roofs of their two cars and went to Florence.”
- “I was 16 years old, I lived in Prato. I was at San Giovanni di Dio hospital in Borgo Ognissanti because of a car accident. Six metres of water. What bad luck.”
- “I saw the flood from a terrace in my town, up in the hills. From Valle d’Elsa, it really seemed like I was looking out at the sea. Animals that were looking for safety, people on their rooftops…”
- “My aunt, who lived in viale Belfiore, said to my father at 5am that the Arno was swelling, but that we could leave from Rome and that she had bought steaks. So we left: me, my father and my mother. It was raining like crazy. In Orvieto, towards 9am, they made us get off the A1. ‘Jeez, it’s raining hard, the highway is backed up!’ we said to ourselves. But we wanted to continue on with our Giulia anyway. When we reached Arezzo, they made us turn around. You couldn’t get through. We though something really bad had happened. But what? Where? We turned back, taking the state roads. In Camucia, we ate lunch and the restaurant’s owner told us that the situation in Florence was critical. We tried to call my aunt, but we couldn’t get a hold of her. So we left again. After 6 hours, under intense rain, we made it back home to Rome. At 8pm, we turned on the TV and…what a tragedy, my Florence! I cried like crazy, while my parents were shocked and speechless.”
- “I was at school, in Fiesole. I remember the moms with their children who brought them to us, and we girls tried to help them with games. From the school’s closed terrace, Florence looked like a sea.”
edited by gianluca testa