Podcast: The Florence Flood of 4th November 1966, by Mario Witt

read by James Fleming
3/6/2020

In 1966 a devastating flood swept through the city of Florence, destroying homes and livelihoods, and killing 101 people. 

Thousands of priceless books, papers and manuscripts were reduced to mulch in the space of a few hours. 

This article from our Spring 1967 issue (which was dedicated to Florence) is a first hand account from Mario Witt, of the terrible events. Witt bore witness, not only to the destruction, but also the huge rallying efforts from the community, local and international, to rescue and recover the countless books, collections and libraries that were almost entirely lost.

In Spring 1969, Nicolas Barker penned a follow up article about the impact of the flood on the Biblioteca Nazionale at Florence two years on. In his introduction he confirmed that following an appeal in the previous year's issue, The Book Collector readers had raised £1200 in contribution to the restoration efforts in Florence. A marvellous achievement for a specialist journal that our readers should be proud of to this day.

This seemed like a timely article to record - a testament to the resilience and compassion of a community faced with a natural disaster.

It is read by James Fleming.

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