The Flood of 1966


The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, which was founded in 1897, has been heavily involved in the events which have unfolded in the city on the Arno during the last century. Thus it, too, was struck by the catastrophic flood which rampaged through the city on 4th November 1966. The Institute felt the full force of the deluge, its headquarters in the Via Giusti inundated by water which rose to over one metre, although the damage was mitigated by the rapid intervention of employees and friends who transported the books to the building’s upper storeys. It was, simultaneously, able to complete an important task in terms of the event’s documentation: in 1975 the photo library acquired the Fondo Bazzechi. The majority of the exhibition’s 80 photographs, taken by Ivo Bazzechi, date from the dramatic days following the flood.

The exhibition in the Kunsthistorisches Institut documents the flood’s immediate aftermath and the ramifications for the city and its artistic treasures. The first section depicts the damage and destruction suffered by the works of art themselves. The second selection illustrates the devastation of the city and its streets, alleys, squares and houses.

The presentation, which arose from the digitalisation projects carried out by the photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut, is simultaneously the first ever online exhibition. The sheer value of this documentary photography, with its illimitable benefits for specialists, becomes clear during an observation of its object, the flood it illustrates. It will become a part of the city’s visible memory, which can be viewed and enjoyed outside the libraries, photographic libraries and archives thanks to the new technical resources.

Gerhard Wolf

© KHI in Florence | 08.02.2023 01:42:05