[Photo: hail stones coated the roads like snow. Here, Piazza Duomo.]
An extreme hail storm hit Florence on Friday, causing some of the city’s most important museums to temporarily close while technicians check for damage.
The Boboli Gardens will likely remain close all week while several fallen trees, branches and plants are removed. Underground water pipes have also been damaged there.
Broken and unstable glass on the facade of Pitti Palace has already been replaced and the building can again be accessed, except for a section of the Galleria del Costume where rainwater has leaked.
The Museum of San Marco will be closed until at least Wednesday. The big cedar tree in the St. Antoninus cloister has been damaged and will need to be taken down. At least four paintings have been damaged by water leaks.
The Sala dei Merletti (Lace Room) inside the Museum of Palazzo Davanzati, which hosts an important collection of lace and ancient clothes, has been badly damaged. Restorers have tried to contain the damage and have moved the wetted materials to a different museum area. The water leaks have also damaged some paintings.
During Friday’s hail storm, streets, cellars and ground floors of buildings in the city center were flooded. The Uffizi Gallery was also temporarily closed, although it appears there is no damage to the works of art housed inside.
The storm also flooded the market of San Lorenzo, destroyed terrace bars in a central square, and slightly damaged several stained glass windows in churches. Rain also leaked into various upper rooms of Florence's town hall, the 14th-century Palazzo Vecchio.
It has been estimated a damage of one and half million euros overall.