A German Tourist Arrested for Vandalizing 16th-century Statue in Florence
Florence, Italy – A German tourist has been taken into custody by police in Florence on charges of damaging a significant cultural artifact. The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning on the 4th, when the tourist allegedly climbed the famed statue of the fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria, leaving irreparable damage in his wake.
The revered fountain, dating back to 1565, stands as a prominent symbol of Florence’s rich history. Depicting Neptune, the god of the sea, riding a chariot drawn by horses shaped like shells, this masterful creation has captivated visitors for centuries.
Regrettably, on this fateful day, the tourist’s unauthorized ascent resulted in significant damage to the sculptures adorning the horse carriage and shells. Preliminary estimates suggest the cost of restoration may exceed €5,000 (approximately 7 million won). Local media reports indicate that the responsible tourist may face substantial fines in addition to the restoration costs.
Mayor’s Condemnation and Actions Taken
Expressing his outrage, Mayor Dario Nardella shared CCTV footage capturing the incident on X (old Twitter). Alongside the footage, the mayor posted a certified photo of the offender, affirming that “there is no mercy for the act of damaging cultural heritage.” He emphasized that those who dare to climb the Neptune statue will face severe consequences in the form of hefty fines.
Reviewing the footage, it becomes evident that the tourist, accompanied by two others, approached the statue and proceeded to ascend it unaccompanied. After being reminded and urged to descend by his companions, the tourist finally complied. Mayor Nardella reflected, “It seems this tourist believed it was acceptable to climb the Neptune statue merely for a photo opportunity.”
Presently, the detained tourists await further legal proceedings. If convicted, they may face substantial fines and a potential ban from visiting Florence in the future.
This incident is not an isolated occurrence. Italy has recently witnessed another tragic act of cultural vandalism perpetrated by German tourists. Barely a month ago, two individuals irresponsibly shattered a 150-year-old Italian statue while posing for a photo opportunity. The destruction rendered the statue beyond repair, its value exceeding $218,000 (approximately 283 million won). Shockingly, the perpetrators left the scene without acknowledging their actions.
These incidents serve as a stark reminder of the need for greater respect and reverence for the invaluable treasures of art and history. Measures must be taken to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage for future generations, while holding individuals accountable for their reprehensible actions.
A German tourist poses for a photo in front of a 16th century statue in Florence, Italy. /X
A German tourist vandalized a 16th century statue of the fountain of Neptune in Florence, Italy, to leave a photo to identify it.
According to Euronews and others on the 6th (local time), police in Florence, Italy, arrested a German tourist on charges of damaging cultural property. The tourist is suspected of climbing the Neptune fountain statue placed in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, around 1 am on the 4th without permission.
The fountain statue was created in 1565 and is considered one of the representative monuments of Florence. It depicts Neptune, god of the sea, riding a shell-shaped chariot drawn by horses.
On this day, tourists climbed the statue without permission, and some of the sculptures of the horse carriage and shells were damaged. The amount of damage is estimated to be at least 5,000 euros (around 7 million won). Tourists are expected to pay not only restoration costs, but also heavy fines, local media reported.
A German tourist steps into the well. /X
The mayor of Florence was also outraged by the incident. Mayor Dario Nardella posted a CCTV video of the situation at the time and a certified photo of the tourists on X (old Twitter), saying, “There is no mercy for the act of damaging cultural heritage.” “Tourists who climb the statue of Neptune will face a heavy fine,” he added.
According to the CCTV footage, the tourist walked up the statue alone after arriving in front of the fountain with two people in his party. And after asking a few times, he came down. “It seems that this tourist thought it was the right thing to do to climb up the statue of Neptune just to take a picture,” said Mayor Nardella.
At the moment, the tourists are in custody. A conviction could result in a fine and a ban from visiting Florence in the future.
Tourists who climbed onto the pedestal of the statue and took pictures forcefully fall back together with the statue. /tiktok
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that tourists have damaged Italian cultural assets. Just a month ago, two other German tourists smashed a 150-year-old Italian statue while posing for a photo. It was broken into so many pieces that recovery was impossible. Although the value of the statue is more than $218,000 (about 283 million won), the group of tourists left the site without saying anything after destroying the statue.
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