In the aftermath of the terrible flooding that hit Florence on the 4th November 1966, the book and archive heritage of the city was gravely damaged. Thousands of volumes from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale and documents from the Archivio di Stato, then housed in the Uffizi building, risked being lost forever. Many people, especially young people, remembered as “angeli del fango” [the angels of the mud] rushed from all over Italy and beyond to help the population and facilitate the recovery of the area.
In this tragic moment, the help of the San Giustino Tobacco Cultivators Consortium in making its premises available was crucial for the recovery of books and archive documents: many volumes from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence were brought to the warehouses and the volunteers got to work together with the tabacchine to recover these volumes. Simultaneously, in the continued research of methods that guarantee a rapid drying of such a large quantity of material without damaging the covers, they decided to take more than 38,000 archive files to San Giustino where there was a large and modern drying system, including part of the archive of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, at the time located at the site in Piazza del Duomo, and the archives of the Florence Società delle Belle Arti, established in 1843.
Some photographs lay witness to the recovery and pass down a story of solidarity and love for culture.