Paper is certainly the widest sector of cultural heritage hit by the 1966 flood, particularly at the National Library, the State Archives – then located in the Uffizi – and archives belonging to private bodies and those overseen by the Archival Superintendence of Tuscany, as well as the historical libraries such as the Gabinetto Letterario Vieusseux at the Palazzo Strozzi, where 90% of its historic bibliographic patrimony was submerged in the underground storage. Printed books, bound books, documents, manuscripts, codices, drawings and scrolls offer the possibility for an effective comparison between the irretrievably damaged materials and those that instead were recovered.
The National Library has contributed pieces that show various types of damages inflicted by the waters that flooded the storages on the raised and underground floors where the historical nuclei, like the Magliabechi collection, were conserved. Other documents illustrate various phases of restoration and examples of bound volumes that were damaged and later restored, adopted by the laboratory inside the Library. Accompanying these examples are instruments and materials utilized that illustrate the terminology embraced and still used today by book binders and restorers. Also included in the display is a precious Recipe book for mixes, colours glues, and filigrees belonging to the Historic Archives of the Cartiere Magnani in Pescia (now located in the city’s Paper Museum), which provided the National Library with various types of paper from just after the flood until the 1980s.
The works presented by the State Archives are divided into three groups: the unrestored damaged items, those sent abroad (to the National Archives of Budapest, Copenhagen and Oslo), and finally, a sample of a string-bound book, recently restored in the on-site laboratory.
Among the numerous archives hit by the flood and which the Archival Superintendence of Tuscany directly oversees and protects, the documentary paper and parchment materials displayed here come from the Alamanni Naldini del Riccio Archive, conserved in Via de’ Servi, the Società di Belle Arti Archive, located in the Casa di Dante, and the archives of Guicciardini Bardi in Vernio and Baldini Libri, located during the flood in palazzo Guicciardini on the namesake lungarno and in the palazzo Baldini Libri in via della Vigna Vecchia, respectively.