All events are free and take place at UMMA unless otherwise noted.

Nov 3

The Florence Flood on Film: Days of Destruction and Restoration

This program is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.

The Florence Flood happened 50 years ago on November 3 and 4, 1966. Although communication to the outside world was limited, Florentine film director Franco Zeffirelli, who was editing his Taming of the Shrew in Rome, heard about it and rushed to his beloved city to film the days immediately after the flood. His documentary is titled Per Firenze (For Florence), and the English version is Florence: Days of Destruction; both are narrated by Richard Burton. The English version will be shown at this event. A year after the flood, Roger Hill, instructor of film-making at the Royal College of Art, London, documented the conservation and restoration efforts at the National Library, Florence, where over a million books were damaged during the flood. Shown in this film are scenes of the conservation of mud-covered, battered books as well as demonstrations of a limp-vellum and a full-leather binding, the techniques and materials used to recover thousands of books missing their bindings. Hill's film is titled: The Restoration of Books, Florence, 1968

This program is part of the national symposium, “The Flood in Florence, 1966: A Fifty-Year Retrospective” that explores the transformative effects of this disaster on the preservation field. The symposium is organized by the University of Michigan Library and the School of Information. For more information, please visit

Thanks to the University of Maryland–College Park for permission to show the Zeffirelli film, and to the University of Utah and Roger Hill for permission to show his film.