|The mud of the Florence flood, November 4, 1966.|
|Santa Croce Basilica well before |
floodwaters crested around eight p.m.
|The floodwaters reached well up into|
the second floors of many buildings.
|A group, which came to be called|
the Mud Angels, worked tirelessly
to try to rescue tens of thousands
of books seen here stacked several
stories high for drying.
Cimabue's Crucifix (ca. 1288) was found more than half submerged, flecks of paint floating in the water around it. Though Donatello's Magdalene Penitent and the baptistery doors were eventually restored, damage to the crucifix was irreparable. The face and body from the knees to the shoulders was virtually destroyed. Floodwaters reached about half-way up on the crossbar. The damage is especially noticeable in comparing the before and after images (below). Ironically, had the crucifix not been removed from its original placement over Santa Croce's high altar in 1566, it would have remained well above the floodwaters. However, at that time, the gigantic, fourteen-foot work was moved to the church's refectory (dining hall) where it was hung low on the wall. Four hundred years later, it's placement proved to be too low.