‘They all call it a river, and they honestly think it is a river, do these dark and bloody Florentines. They even help out the delusion by building bridges over it. I do not see why they are too good to wade.’ (Innocents Abroad, 1869, Mark Twain).
Mark Twain (1835-1910) might not have been very impressed by the Arno, but over the centuries the river has unleashed its power on numerous occasions, breaking its banks and wreaking death and destruction in the city.
Attached to buildings throughout the centro storico are plaques that mark the heights the floodwater has reached, recording dates in 1333, 1547, 1557 and 1844.
However, the record was achieved on November 4th, 1966, when the floodwater reached, in parts of the city, a height of 6 metres (20 feet).
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