Anyone interested in the arts, and particularly the renaissance masters, knows about the flooding of Florence in 1966. The damage to the treasures of this city, itself a treasure, was enormous.
When Cynthia and I lived here, some four years after, there had sprung up a huge restoration industry. It fostered a whole industry dedicated to preserving the arts that remains to this day. Barely a day goes by that we don’t come across a workshop or even an institute devoted to teaching and restoring of art from many ages, not just the renaissance, and not just what we consider to be the great masters. Across the street from our apartment is Santissima Annuciata. Here in the entrance room, a man works in cloistered isolation, his camel hair brush as fine as a pencil tip.
Cloistered he may be, but never really alone.
He has remained ever watchful over the comings and goings of saints and sinners, artists and those who would preserve their works of faith for generations. This vigil has been kept since before Columbus set sail for the new world.
It is hard to really grasp just how deep the water was in places until you come across the occasional little sign, “Qui Arriva Il Arno”. These signs indicated how deep the water was can be seen at eyelevel as you sit having a meal in a restaurant, or sometimes even above your head on some street corners.
The memory of seeing these signs around town over forty years ago came back to us the other day. Lost, we call it making new discoveries, we came across a tarnished little plaque on the wall. After much squinting and speculating, its meaning finally became evident.
Yep. You guessed it. “Here came the water of the Arno, on the 3rd of November, 1844”. And while you are guessing dates, can you guess on what day of the month the flooding began in 1966?
Now what was that old saying about learning the lessons of history? but then I would be repeating myself.
In another post it was pointed out that the over 800 year old palazzo headquarters of Ferragamo was started on property acquired just after the flood of 1286. And of course, who could forget the flood of 1333?
That Ferragamo property I mentioned; it is right along the road that borders the Arno River. Here is a photo taken in that neighborhood in 1966. Now you know why Ferragamo designs so many really high, high heels.
And while on the topic of a flood of memories, I leave you with this last one, taken quite by coincidence very close to the anniversary of the flood.
Just don’t ask me which one.