‘Florence 1966-2016. Beauty saved’

The works of art restored after the terrible flood in 1966

From 01 December 2016 to 26 March 2017

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Florence, 4th November 1966. The Arno waters spill over its banks and destroy the city, taking away 35 lives and devastating the immense artistic heritage present in the city. At the end of a month dedicated to the memory of the tragic flood that 50 years ago marked the Tuscan capital forever, the Florence exhibition 'Florence 1966- 2016. Beauty saved', hosted at Palazzo Medici Riccardi until 26th March 2017 will not be a simple commemoration, but a sort of evaluation of how much work has been done in recent years and how much still remains to be done to save churches, museums, art and cultural institutions which were damaged by the raging waters during those terrible days.

Curated by the MetaMorfosi Association with the collaboration of Opera Laboratori Fiorentini - Civita, this unmissable exhibition in Florence illustrates from a new point of view the cataclysm that within a few hours not only submerged the city and all its beauty, but also washed away the certainty that its artistic and cultural heritage was untouchable and eternal.

The choice of venue is no accident, because the Palazzo Medici Riccardi was the Museo Mediceo in 1966, when it was completely destroyed by the flooding of the Arno. ‘La bellezza salvata’, one of the most highly-anticipated exhibitions in Florence at the end of this year, sets out an exhibition itinerary which weaves through the areas most heavily affected by the flood, including museums, libraries, art collections, churches and historic archives.
A carefully selected choice of 150 works are on display – including sculptures, paintings, documents, objects, books, musical and scientific instruments -which are accompanied by photographs and videos, valuable evidence of the damage suffered and the subsequent restoration work.
This extraordinary exhibition 2017 Florence at Palazzo Medici also intends to focus on less known procedures, such as the techniques and tools which were used during the restoration work, and collections which remain unknown to the wider public. The exhibition also presents some works that are still waiting to be restored, or other momentarily non-recoverable ones, and conserves the hope that the recovery steps, by now at a very advanced stage, will be concluded as soon as possible.

Among the current exhibitions in Florence, do not miss 'Florence 1966- 2016. Beauty saved', a report of the terrible flood in 1966 and what it meant for the artistic and cultural heritage of Italy. Let's look at the different sections of the exhibition:

  • The first part is dedicated to MUSEUMS AND COLLECTIONS: a wide canvas of eighteenth century grand ducal manufactures and some Roman art marbles, once placed on the ground floor of the Uffizi, remember this important Gallery, whereas evidence of the Archaeological Museum is represented by 'Mater Matuta' and ‘Montescudaio Cinerary’, two unique masterpieces in the whole world dating back to Etruscan times. This section of the current exhibition in Florence is also a reminder of the National Bargello Museum with some Armory specimens, at the Bardini Museum and the Museum of the Horne Foundation.
  • The section on PLACES OF WORSHIP opens with paintings of the Basilica of Santa Croce: it particularly focuses on two large paintings by Giovan Battista Naldini and Carlo Portelli, revived by an amazing restoration work, as evidenced by a series of photographs taken before the interventions. The Opera del Duomo instead, is revoked by three of its magnificent 58 miniated chorals while the Jewish Community provided a selection of liturgical objects. There are still many works that bear the marks left by the flood: the altarpiece of the 'Trinity' of Neri di Bicci, preserved in the church of San Niccolò in Oltrarno, and the one with the 'Madonna with Child and Saints' by Francesco Botticini – which became a symbol of the exhibition at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi - housed in the church of Sant'Andrea in San Donnino, where, during the days of the flood, the water even reached 6 meters high.
  • Great attention is given to the sector dedicated to PAPER, surely most heavily affected by the tragedy of 1966: significant damage affected the State Archives, the National Library, private archives and supervised entities from the Archive Superintendence for Tuscany and especially in historical libraries such as the Cabinet Viesseux at Palazzo Strozzi in whose basement 90% of the historical heritage of books was flooded. The flood did not even spare the science collections, especially the Museum of History of Science – today the Galileo Museum - located directly on the Arno.
  • This beautiful Florence exhibition in 2017 is closed by the 'LAST' section devoted to the paintings that have not yet been restored and that unfortunately are likely to end in oblivion. There are still many paintings, sculptures and ecclesiastical items from the various churches in the area that are waiting to be restored to their original splendour: this exhibition is intended as a wake-up call, and at the same time an encouragement to find the necessary funds for recovery activities.


Among the art exhibitions in Florence 2017, do not miss 'Florence 1966- 2016. Beauty saved' which, through documents, images and testimonies, tells the tragedy that occurred on the night between 3rd and 4th November 1966, when the Arno came over its banks flooding the entire city and its priceless artistic heritage. Immediately after that terrible event, which had a worldwide impact, the long and difficult path began, that allowed many works to be saved and restored: a journey through the history of Italy that the exhibition wants everyone to know.


Florence shows 2017 presents: 'Florence 1966- 2016. Beauty saved'

Location: Florence - Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Dates: December 1, 2016 to March 26, 2017



By Insidecom Editorial Staff


Period: From 01 December 2016 to 26 March 2017

Event location: Florence

Contacts: Info and tickets at the official website www.cittametropolitana.fi.it

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