Florence’s 2023 WWII Liberation Day Commemorations

Palazzo Vecchio, where the Marinella bell announced the liberation of Florence on August 11, 1944.  Photo by Nicola Neri.

August 11 marks the date of Florence’s liberation in 1944 from the retreating German army and Fascist sympathizers during World War II by the Tuscan resistance fighters (partigiani) with the arrival of Allied forces.  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. Earlier, on night of August 3 and early hours of August 4, all the bridges except Ponte Vecchio had been mined and blown up in the retreat, and were not reconstructed until the 1950s.

Wednesday, August 10

A ceremony will be held to honor the Sikh soldiers who died in the fighting for the liberation of Florence at the Stazione Leopolda (via Elio Gabbuggiani) at 6 pm.  The Sikhs were part of the Eighth Indian Division of British Eighth Army, which liberated Florence with the American Fifth Army.

Thursday, August 11

One of Palazzo Vecchio’s three bells, the “Martinella,” will toll at 7 am as it did on August 11, 1944 to announce the city’s liberation.

Laurel wreathes will be laid below a plaque remembering Florence’s liberation on the facade of Palazzo Vecchio (via de’ Gondi, 9 am) and also at the base of the monument to the war dead in (Piazza dell’Unità, 9:45 am).

These events will be followed by speeches given by Mayor Dario Nardella, Tuscan governor Eugenio Giani, the head of the Italian Union of Jewish Communities Naomi Di Segni in addition to other officials in front of the main entrance to Palazzo Vecchio starting at 10:30 am.  This will be followed by a screening of remembrances of Florence’s liberation by partisans and other eyewitnesses.  (rosanna cirigliano)