November 03, 2006

Forty years ago today, the rains which flooded the city of Florence began. The Angeli del Fango came to save the city. Some say it's still not safe.
  • I shouldn't cry for the damaged books and manuscripts when so many people died and so many more had lives torn apart - but the pictures and just thinking about how much must have been lost and damaged beyond repair (and the fact that radio free mofi is playing Benjamin Britten) is overwhelming me. I don't know if people realise how special rare books and most of all manuscripts are - even me. I get so blase about them, and even a bit careless, but they are often the only thing linking us to something in the past. Most manuscripts in the world are unique (especially the less pretty ones, the workaday papers of courts and businesses) - any loss is a permanent one, a bit of our past that will never be recovered.
  • How much rain did they get? I could not find that information.
  • Mothninja and I live in Florence, so we know all about this stuff. I think the rain was about three days straight before hand, after a very wet summer. Certainly all the lakes upstream were full. Wandering around town you can see lines drawn on the buildings where the water level rose to. There are parts near the cathedral where it hit 12 feet or so. And the main thing with the manuscripts is that the national library is on the river bank itself, and they used to keep the most important works *in the basement*. I also weep for this. I'm really not sure how no one worked that one out before hand.
  • It's wonderful that so many people came from all over to help. But the Italians really ought to get their act together. Machiavelli would have had a few words to say to prosperous Florentines who can't seem to get round to sorting out the city's defences.
  • Machiavelli knew the river very well: he and Da Vinci had a plot once to divert it, and take away Pisa's drinking water. Seriously. Len and Niccolo, getting all civil engineering on their ass. It didn't work, but hey...
  • People still live near Vesuvius.
  • And in fact, the work that's been done has made some difference. I was living there in '92, when there was, by all accounts, a heavier rainfall than in '66. The river didn't (quite) flood, but for a few days the sense of excitement was palpable. There was a sense of disappointment, too, along with relief, when the water receded; the disappointment, I suppose, of people on the edge of history just missing out.
  • People still live near Vesuvius well rivers and volcanos are where the fertile soil is, and the fish, and ports etc., the things that bring the terrible disasters also bring the life-giving riches. ah!! the ironicality of life!
  • your antimislinguisticality is endearingly unmockrified amongst the scolopacines!
  • Pete, an excellent example of wtfality!
  • I like the idea of Len and Niccolo getting together. "I hear you're trying to get some sort of militia set up? I've got a design here for a sort of fighting machine... and this is one that flies..."