75th Anniversary of Florence’s Liberation

Florence's Liberation
Santo Spirito square in Florence

The theme this week in Florence is “War and Peace.” The city will be commemorating its 75th anniversary of liberation from Nazi and Fascist forces during World War II.

On August 8 (7:30 pm), speeches will be given and a wreath will be laid on the plaque in Piazza Santo Spirito honoring Aligi “Potente” Barducci, partisan commander of the Arno Division which would enter Florence ahead of the Allied armies. Potente was mortally wounded by a mortar shell in the square on that date in 1944.

On August 10 (6 pm), a commemoration will honor the Sikh casualties which occurred during the Florence’s liberation at the Stazione Leopolda (via Elio Gabbuggiani). The Sikhs were part of the Eighth Indian Division of British Eighth Army, which approached Florence with the American Fifth Army.

August 11 marks the actual date of Florence’s liberation from the retreating German army by the Tuscan resistance fighters (partigiani) with the arrival of Allied forces. One of Palazzo Vecchio’s three bells, the “Martinella,” will toll at 7 am as it did on August 11, 1944. On that day, members of the Comitato Toscana di Liberazione Nazionale (the Tuscan Committee for National Liberation) had established a new city government in Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

Seventy-five years later, a ceremony will take place in Piazza Santa Croce at 9:45 am to remember the war dead. Florence mayor, Dario Nardella, will also address the public from the steps of Palazzo Vecchio at 10:30 am. Partisan (member of the Resistance) Leandro Agresti will participate in the ceremony.

The Uffizi Gallery will grant free admission all day, from 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.  In the evening, the Giacomo Puccini Philharmonic Band of Prato will give a free performance in Piazza Signoria (9 pm). (rosanna cirigliano)