Preservation Week 2016 (April 24-30, 2016)
Florence: Days of Destruction, a documentary film by Franco Zeffirelli
Other 50th Anniversary Screenings in 2016
May 14, American Institute for Conservation (AIC) 44th Annual Meeting, Montréal, Canada
June 25, American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, Orlando, FL
August 18, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), 82nd General Conference, Columbus, OH
Per Firenze (Italian version), RAI Italy
About the Film:
The University of Maryland Libraries shares its new digital restoration of the rare Franco Zeffirelli film, Florence: Days of Destruction (Italian title: Per Firenze) 1966.
Zeffirelli’s only documentary, this film is a heartfelt call to action showing the effects of the 4 November 1966 flood that devastated Florence, Italy, and rallied art lovers worldwide.
Produced by the famed Italian director in the days during and immediately following the flood, the film includes footage shot on 4 November and urged support to help rescue Italian works of art. Actor Richard Burton, who was working in Rome as the disaster unfolded, narrated and appeared in the film and appealed for aid. Frederick Hartt, a renowned scholar of Italian Renaissance Art and one of World War II’s Monuments Men, also gives an emotional testimony to the flood damage that he witnessed. The film also features interviews with a number of Florentine officials and "mud-angels." The new digital restoration of the film includes footage of Senator Edward M. Kennedy during his visit to Florence and promoting the fund raising of the Committee for the Rescue of Italian Art (CRIA).
In the days following the flood, volunteers from throughout Europe and the United States descended upon Florence to help recover books, paintings, and other works of art damaged by water and sediment from the Arno River. Efforts of these so-called "mud angels" helped to reduce the loss of Florence’s priceless cultural heritage. Some of these volunteers would go on to become art and book conservators. Conservators worldwide would later adopt standards and treatments developed as a result of recovery efforts. The attention the flood generated advanced a movement within academic research libraries to formalize book preservation programs.
The University of Maryland Libraries’ Library Media Services Dept. holds the only copy of the English-language version of the film in a research library collection. To mark the 40th anniversary of the flood, RAI, the national Italian radio and television company, put up two streaming videos (in Italian) of the film: Per Firenze and 4 novembre '66: Per Firenze - 1a parte (part 1). With the kind permission of Maestro Zeffirelli, the University of Maryland Libraries is able to share its digitized copy of Florence: Days of Destruction.
Thanks to Carla Q. Montori, Head of Preservation, and Bryan Draper, Special Collections Conservator, University of Maryland Libraries, University of Maryland, College Park, for making this screening possible.
Special Preservation Week 2016 TOPS lecture: Emergency Management since the Florence Flood -- Federal Programs and National Initiatives (Andrew Robb, Head of Special Format Conservation Section, Conservation Division, Library of Congress)