Tourist breaks off chunk of historic Florence statue

A tourist in Italy has broken a chunk off a historic statue, allegedly causing €5,000-worth of damage.

The 22-year-old visitor from Germany was caught climbing onto the Fountain of Neptune in Florence to pose for a picture in the early hours of Monday (4 September) morning.

He has been accused of breaking off a piece of marble from Neptune’s chariot, as well as damaging the hoof of one of the sculpture’s horses.

Recorded on CCTV, the unnamed man was tracked down and issued with a hefty fine, according to authorities.

Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, posted footage and a picture of the Berlin man posing next to the Renaissance monument on social media, reports The Telegraph.

He wrote: “This tourist thought it would be a good idea to climb on to Neptune for a selfie. Thanks to the council’s security cameras, he was identified and will pay a heavy fine. There is no justification for the vandalism of cultural heritage.”

The architect responsible for the upkeep of Florence’s monuments, Tommaso Muccini, branded the man an “imbecile” and told the Italian daily newspaper La Nazione that a security alarm had alerted authorities after he jumped down from the statue.

Commissioned by the Florentine duke Cosimo de’ Medici in 1559 to celebrate the marriage of his heir to the grand duchess of Austria, the Fountain of Neptune was fully restored in 2018, according to Mr Muccini.

The recent damage will be repaired next month.

This incident is the latest in a long line of instances of poor tourist behaviour in Italy over the summer.

Several visitors have come under fire for carving their names on the Colosseum in Rome, including one British tourist, who said he hadn’t been aware of the age of the amphitheatre.

In August, a group of 17 tourists destroyed a 150-year-old Italian sculpture in Lombardy valued at €200,000.

Two of the group climbed into the fountain to wrap their arms around the sculpture, Domina by the artist Enrico Butti, while another pushed it with a stick before it crashed to the ground.

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