DIARY OF FLORENCE IN THE FLOOD by Katherine Kressman Taylor


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Katherine Taylor was an American in Florence on November 4 located in a pension by the Arno when it overflowed, and stayed to watch flood and aftermath for four months. Her heart went out to Florence and her people, who dared ""to attack chaos with a broom"" and who maintained la bella figura in the face of devastation. She records the rise of the flood (the Contessa in her pension said, ""Why don't they stop it?""), its cresting, gratefully witnessed, the days of isolation without light, food, water. Finally eight days after the catastrophe came the first soccorso a Fireaze to help the citizens dig out from 500,000 tons of mud, feed and relocate the homeless (six thousand families) the alluvionati. The toll of the flood included priceless manuscripts in the National Library, five plates from the Ghiberti doors, the Cimabue crucifix, six thousand businesses wiped out. The fatalities: thirty-three in Florence, 126 in the province. Mrs. Taylor's story of how the Florentines reacted to the finimondo and refused to let it end their world is admiring. The big book is still to be written.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1967
Publisher: Simon & Schuster