An exhibition organized 50 years after the Florence flood of 1966, offering the chance for visitors to return to that night through stories of the tragedy and what it represented for Tuscany—and in particular, for the region’s artistic and cultural heritage

The exhibition “Firenze 1966-2016: Beauty Preserved” took off at the initiative of the Firenze 2016 Committee. The committee has been active for four years now and includes more than 100 members, both public and private entitities. Florence’s Mayor Dario Nardella co-presides over the committee with Regional President of Tuscany Enrico Rossi. The creation and realization of the exhibition both faced various obstacles.

The exhibition opened on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, preceded by a press conference, in the presence of Enrico Rossi, President of the Tuscan Region; Benedetta Albanese, City Councillor; Giorgio Federici, Secretary of the Firenze 2016 Committee; Pietro Folena, President of the Metamorfosi association; and Cristina Acidini and Elena Capretti, curators of the exhibition.

The exhibition, which began officially on December 1, 2016, will be open unil March 26, 2017, with opening hours from 9am to 7pm, and last entrance at 6.30pm. It is closed on Wednesdays.
50 years after the Florence flood of 1966, the exhibition offers the chance for visitors to return to that night through stories of the tragedy and what it represented for Tuscany—and in particular, for the region’s artistic and cultural heritage. Through carefully selected examples, the show highlights elements of cultural heritage that were victims on November 3-4, 1966 and of the disastrous effects involved in their retrieval from the waters.

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The long arc of post-flood restoration helped make Florence a world capital of scientific research and technology, particularly for operations and instruction for restoration on a global level. Florence was able to build something positive out of the disaster, through what the post-flood efforts signified for solidarity, resilience, prevention, research, and cultural and artistic creativity. Italian and international restorers brought their know-how to the table, for the first time consolidating it in Florence. The catastrophes related to the flood really brought about an extraordinary spike in the development of restoration techniques and in the fine tuning of certain processes, creating, over the years, a hub of expertise on the subject. The modern Opificio delle Pietre Dure (1975) with its Scuola di Alta Formazione, must be considered among the permanent positive acquisitions post-disaster.

In the monumental Palazzo Medici Riccardi complex, where, in 1966, the Medici Museum had its headquarters, and was literally annihilated by water, visitors can get a glimpse of works of art and relics that of both artistic and historical-documentary interest. To better represent the various techniques and typologies, the exhibition will feature panel paintings and oil on canvas works, sculptures, books, documents, applied art objects, and musical and scientific instruments, as well as historic photographs documenting the damages and recovery efforts. Several other “last works” will also be brought together—art and relics that are still damaged, waiting to be restored.

This initiative for the 50th anniversary has a pluralistic element, because it brings together the testimonies and materials from numerous cultural institutions who were affected by the flood (more than 30 of them, in fact). These were all key figures in the long process of redemption through restoration of places and of cultural goods.

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The exhibition is open to ordinary citizens, young people, school age children, educators and teachers, Italian and international visitors. To this end, an educational service will be offered aimed primarily at schools, universities and family groups, to heighten new generations’ awareness of an event that they did not experience, and to bring about their sense of belonging to an immense and varied cultural legacy worth knowing and defending. Additionally, the exhibition will involve some of the groups that are closest to its themes, including restorers, researchers and scientists, antiques dealers, artisans, professionals and entrepreneurs active in the conservation, protection and enhancement of cultural heritage. Everyone will be able to see a Florence that isn’t just a treasure trove of art and history, but also a dynamic city, a fertile land for experimentation, a hub of ideas and scientific and technological innovations.

The scientific committee includes representatives from the following entities:

Accademia delle Arti del Disegno
State Archive of Florence
Archivio Storico del Comune di Firenze
Arcidiocesi di Firenze – Ufficio diocesano Arte Sacra e Beni Culturali Ecclesistici
National Central Library of Florence
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
“Luigi Cherubini” Music Conservatory
Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica
Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G.P. Vieusseux
Accademia Gallery
Uffizi Gallery
Istituto Geografico Militare – IGM
Musei Civici, Museo di Santa Maria Novella
Musei Civici, Museo Stefano Bardini
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze
Museo delle Cappelle Medicee
Museo e Fondazione Horne
Galileo Museum
Bargello Museum
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Cappelle Medicee
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Opera del Tempio Ebraico
Opera di Santa Croce
Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore
Opera di Santa Maria Novella
Opera Medicea Laurenziana
Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Polo Museale della Toscana
Segretariato Regionale del MiBACT, Regione Toscana
Soprintendenza Archeologia della Toscana
Soprintendenza Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Firenze , Pistoia e Prato
Sovrintendenza Archivistica e Bibliografica della Toscana
University of Florence