Florence, its River, its University

Florence, Italy, is recognized as one of the world’s great treasures in art, culture and Renaissance history. It is a UNESCO heritage site and an internationally visited tourist attraction. Florence is crossed by the Arno River. In its history, Florence was hit by several disastrous floods; the most recent 1966 flood caused 38 deaths and severe damage to many of its most precious art works and threatened the economic and social viability of the city and its residents. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this tragic flood, the Arno River has been made the object of thorough monitoring activities and engineering evaluations about the interactions between the river structures with flow hydraulics and bed sediment dynamics. The Arno River and its basin thus provides an excellent demonstration on typical sediment-related problems and sediment management methods in Italy.

The University of Florence with the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Earth Sciences is a very active teaching and research institution with its faculty members strongly involved in river and coastal hydraulics, sedimentation research and geo-hydrological hazards. In 2016, a UNESCO Chair on Prevention and sustainable management of geohydrological hazards’ was established. The mission of the Chair is to promote research and development for the prevention and management of geo-hydrological hazards (such as floods, debris flows, river and coastal erosion and other hazards related to climate changes), in order to support policies and actions of risk reduction.