German Tourist Damaged 16th-Century Statue While Climbing It For A Photo, Officials Say

 A tourist visiting Florence, Italy, has been accused by local authorities of damaging a 16th-century fountain after climbing on it in an apparent attempt to get a perfect photo. 

The 22-year-old tourist, who was visiting from Germany but has not yet been named, allegedly made his way onto the Fountain of Neptune while two friends took photographs of him early Monday. While scaling the monument, the tourist managed to break a piece of marble off, and authorities say he caused thousands of dollars in damages.  

“There is no justification against vandalism of cultural heritage,” Florence Mayor Dario Nardella posted to X on Monday. 

A statement from the city said that the tourist climbed over a protective barrier surrounding the statue, which sits in Piazza della Signoria, the square in front of Palazzo Vecchio. He then got onto the statue and posed as his two friends were taking photographs from the other side of the barrier. 

“With a jump he then climbed onto the horse’s leg, reaching the base of the carriage and, after having some photos taken by his friends, he climbed down. During the descent he placed his foot again on the hoof, damaging it. As soon as the alarm went off, however, the young man had already managed to escape with the two others,” the city statement read, according to CNN

Surveillance footage capturing the moment the tourist broke off a piece of the marble and an image of the man with his face blurred standing on the monument were posted to X by the mayor. The total cost of the damage is estimated to be 5,000 Euros, or roughly $5,375, Insider reports

The monument’s damage was sustained at the chariot, where a piece of marble fell, and the hoof of the horse, the outlet reports. It’s expected to be repaired in October. 

City penal code prohibits the “destruction, dispersion, deterioration, disfigurement, soiling or illicit use of cultural or landscape assets.” The tourist will reportedly be charged under this code and, if convicted, could face a fine and be barred from the city. 

“The imbecile entered the fountain by passing over the projectors which illuminate the fountain, creating interference with the sensors,” Tommaso Muccini, one of the fine arts architects responsible for the maintenance of the monument, said. “Unfortunately the sensors didn’t make the alarm go off in the moment he entered the fountain, but only when he left. At least he was identified.”

The Fountain of Neptune depicts the Roman sea god Neptune sitting on a shell-shaped chariot pulled by horses. It was commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence, in 1559, commemorating the wedding of Medici’s son to an Austrian grand duchess, according to Insider. The fountain was finished in 1574 and was completely restored in 2018. 

In 2005, Neptune’s hand was reportedly broken off the monument after someone climbed on it, leading to the city to install security cameras.  

There have been numerous cases of tourists damaging historically significant monuments and buildings this summer, with at least two instances of tourists carving into the wall of the Colosseum in Rome this summer. In other cases, two German tourists reportedly spray-painted soccer slogans into the 460-year-old Vasari Corridor near Florence, and a teenager allegedly defaced a 1,200-year-old temple in Japan.  

German Tourist Damaged 16th-Century Statue While Climbing It For A Photo, Officials Say German Tourist Damaged 16th-Century Statue While Climbing It For A Photo, Officials Say Reviewed by Your Destination on September 06, 2023 Rating: 5

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