An account by Giovanna Telesca (I)
"In 1966 I was at University, studying at the Faculty of the Arts; a coach was immediately organized to take us to Florence when we heard about the disaster. My group was taken to the National Library; there we only had to clean up and remove old newspapers from the cellars, without having anything to do with the actual works of art.
It was hard and dirty work. The newspapers were then put on a military lorry and taken away to be destroyed. I remember the soldiers worked ever so hard. Ted Kennedy came to Florence while we were there. He did not interrupt our work like the Italian politicians when they came with their bodyguards.
We girls slept in a hotel requisitioned for the occasion in Prato while the boys were lodged in railway carriages in Florence station.
In those days the grey skies of Florence were frightening to behold, at night they were illuminated by electric cells that made the city look like a prison camp. I remember the cold and damp and I can still see an old man using a bucket to empty out his cellar, helped by his little grandson with his beach bucket.
A coach full of students came from our University once every four days to take over from the previous group. I stayed in Florence for five days.
Today Giovanna Telesca teaches literature at the Agrate middle school in Brianza.
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