Virtual reality tour at the Biblioteca Nazionale

Site-specific look at photos and videos of the 1966 flood

Samantha Vaughn
November 2, 2017 - 10:56

The augmented reality tour introduced last year at the Biblioteca Nazionale for the 50th anniversary of the 1966 flood that hit Florence has been revamped and updated. To celebrate this new phase in the project, the library is hosting special tours of Arno66 – The Time Machine (La Macchina del Tempo) from November 4 – 18. The tour explores the photographs and short films taken during the flood and the subsequent clean-up through the use of tablets and VR goggles. The photos and films appear when participants have reached the exact spot where they were taken 51 years ago, offering an opportunity to directly compare the past and present.


The Biblioteca Nazionale has become a symbol of the flood. It’s location directly on the bank of the Arno made it an unfortunate target when the river’s waters overflowed on the morning of November 4, 1966. The library suffered immense damage, losing nearly one million bibliographic works. The tour, curated by Lorenzo Garzella and Filippo Macelloni, is a sort of “memory safari,” taking participants on a discovery of this history-altering event and the major developments in restoration that it led to. The voice of actor and performer Andrea Macaluso follows participants on the hour-long tour as they wander from the atrium to the reading room and from the basement to the cloister on the ground floor.


The tour is free, though reservations are required.

Saturday, November 4 at 10am and 12pm (special live performance by Macaluso);

Monday – Friday, November 6 – 10 and 13 – 17 at 10am and 5pm;

Saturday, November 11 and 18 at 10.30am.

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