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In Florence, Italy during the summer of 2021, thirteen Florida State and Texas A&M students signed on for an undergraduate research project for the course “Mud Angels: Legend, Culture and Legacy” taught by Dr. Ken Thigpen. The purpose of this project was to document more fully the legacy of the FSU Florence “Mud Angels” of 1966 through oral history.

The students utilized the Mud Angels “Memories” on DigiNole to research the individual stories of these well-known alumni and develop questions for an oral history interview. The students then scheduled interviews with the Mud Angels and recorded their stories of student life before, during and after the great flood of 1966.

As part of this course, the students met with local Florentines who experienced the flood of 1966, including Professor Luca Bufano, who was a boy scout at the time and assisted the Mud Angels and Signora Donatella Paolini, who was a child during the flood of 1966 and recalled being trapped with her family in their apartment.

The class also explored the landscapes, artifacts and monuments affected by the flood of 1966 including the Duomo Cathedral, Biblioteca Nazionale and Basilica di Santa Croce.