The Arno Unleashed

Seven centuries of art and floods in Florence


As Florence commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Great Flood of November 1966, join us this autumn for a special one-week course devoted to the historic floods of Florence and their impact on the Art of the city.

 By noontime on November 4, the Arno had swollen so vastly that it covered the entire plain… The whole volume of the flood rushed into the city with such fury that it filled all Florence... To look at this scene was to stare at chaos.

These words easily conjure the devastation visited on Florence 50 years ago, when the Arno River breached its banks, and submerged the city in a turbid mixture of mud and debris. But the description above regards the much earlier disaster as recorded in the Nuova Cronica of Giovanni Villani. Precisely 633 years prior to the great flood of 1966, Florentines reeled from the unbridled power of their river which caused 300 casualties and the destruction of the city’s ancient bridges. In fact, there are over 40 documented floods in Florence, including 8 ranked as major flood catastrophes. This one-week course surveys these events within the larger timeline of Florence's artistic rebirth through on-site visits to local museums, monuments, conservation workshops and archives, as well as lectures held, on the Arno, at the Harold Acton Library.


25-28 October 2016 450
2-5 November 2016 450
Selected Sessions 55


Scroll through the calendar below to locate individual sessions, as well as cultural events at the Harold Acton Library:





Use the map below to locate meeting points for course-related activities:


Interested in learning more about Florence's historic floods? Use the timeline below to locate specific floods and information on works of art damaged in November 1966.

We will continue to add to the timeline as we develop the course programme. To open the timeline in a new window, click here.