Friday, November 03, 2006

Mud Angels

On the night between the 3rd and 4th of November, 1966, the Arno broke its banks. When the waters receded 24 hours later, they left a city devastated with 121 people dead and, it seemed, the richest heritage of anywhere in the world in ruins.

It didn't turn out like that, in part thanks to the thousands who rushed there to help out, people who became known as the "mud angels". To mark that catastrophe and the people who alleviated it, there's going to be a celebration in Florence tomorrow at the Palazzo Vecchio. The regional government took the trouble to trace as many of these people as possible and came up with over 10,000 of them. 2,200 angeli del fango are expected in Piazza della Signoria tomorrow.

The photos are from Corriere della Sera.

The Arno breaks its banks
Ponte Vecchio, amazingly, still stands
A street in Florence on November 4th, 1966

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