Villa I Tatti marks the 50th anniversary of the 1966 River Arno flood with an online exhibition

A model for Brunelleschi’s dome being restored following the devastating 1966 flood of the River Arno in Florence

2 min read

Exactly 50 years ago, on Nov. 4, 1966, a devastating flood swept through the city of Florence, destroying and causing significant damage to much of the city’s artistic patrimony.

As soon as news of the disaster reached the United States, concerned scholars of Italian art and culture leapt into action to help save the precious artistic heritage of Florence and other cities ravaged by floods, joining forces to create the Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA). Amidst the turmoil and with a deep sense of urgency, they organized both a vast fund-raising campaign and the shipment to Italy of emergency conservation materials along with a team of specialists to assess the situation and begin long-range planning for the recovery. Chaired by Jacqueline Kennedy, the Committee raised money through direct mail requests, ads, special exhibits of Italian art, fashion shows and cocktail parties, in addition to video appeals by famous figures such as Ted Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.

Following the devastating flood of ’66, Villa I Tatti became the Florentine Headquarters of CRIA, a task force made up of scholars anxious to preserve Florence’s precious artistic heritage. This online exhibition explores the valiant efforts of CRIA during the aftermath of the flood, and examines I Tatti’s central role in the recovery.

Visit the Exhibition