Heat wave shuts art mu­seum

Air con­di­tion­ing mal­func­tioned as Florence siz­zled in 39C tem­per­a­tures

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Uf­fizi Gal­leries art mu­seum in the Ital­ian city of Florence shut its doors to the pub­lic Fri­day amid a heat wave be­cause of prob­lems with its air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem.

The Re­nais­sance art cap­i­tal has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing one of Italy’s hottest cities ev­ery sum­mer. But a heat wave grip­ping the na­tion for days, and com­ing on top of a week­s­long drought, was mak­ing it tougher to stay cool.

Tem­per­a­tures in Florence hit at least 39 C on Fri­day. Rome tem­per­a­tures this week were around 38 C.

Uf­fizi Gal­leries direc­tor Eike Sch­midt said be­cause the level of the Arno River, which flows through Florence, was so low the mu­seum couldn’t draw as much wa­ter from it as it usu­ally does for its in­dus­trial-scaled cool­ing sys­tem.

Stand­ing out­side the gal­leries as tourists waited in line for ticket re­im­burse­ments, Sch­midt told SkyTG24 TV the cool­ing sys­tem was still work­ing well enough to keep its mas­ter­pieces cli­mate-con­trolled and avoid dam­age.

But the heat gen­er­ated by “even a few hun­dred peo­ple” vis­it­ing the mu­seum could tax the sys­tem to the point it wouldn’t be able to guar­an­tee the cool tem­per­a­tures needed to safe­guard the paint­ings, he said.

The Uf­fizi had ar­ranged for trucks to bring in enough wa­ter to make sure the Uf­fizi’s air con­di­tion­ing would be up and run­ning on Satur­day for the pub­lic to re­turn, he said.


Tourists wait out­side the Uf­fizi Gal­leries in Florence, Italy, Fri­day.

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