Vandals attacked a fountain in Rome’s famed Piazza Navona over the weekend, knocking two big chunks off a marble statue.
The damaged statue was a 19th-century copy. A Rome culture official, Umberto Broccoli, said the pieces were recovered and can be reattached to the Moor Fountain.
Security camera footage aired on Italian television stations and websites yesterday showed a man climbing in the fountain and repeatedly attacking the statue – one of four large faces at the edge of the fountain – with a large rock.
The man struck on Saturday morning (local time), when the favourite tourist spot was still relatively quiet, and left before police arrived. The whole attack lasted less than a minute, according to Italian news reports.
The copy of the original Moor Fountain by 16th-century artist Giacomo della Porta is on the square’s south end. Bernini added the central figure in the 1600s.
Investigators were yesterday looking into whether the same vandal was behind another attack just a few hours later to another symbol of Rome: the Trevi Fountain.
A security camera caught a man hurling a rock at the Baroque masterpiece. The rock missed its target.
In a third incident, a tourist took a small marble fragment from the Colosseum. Italian news AGI said the tourist, a 20-year-old man from the United States, was arrested after being caught by police officers digging near a colonnade in the Colosseum. He was taken to the Celio police station where officers found another small fragment in his pockets, AGI said.
Italian officials have tried to fight vandalism in Rome, installing cameras and sending more police to patrol monuments. But the sheer number of artistic treasures in the Italian capital makes the task difficult.