A group of tourists who caused €200,000 worth of damage to a 150-year-old Italian sculpture have been condemned as “imbeciles” by Italy’s deputy prime minister. The incident took place in the town of Viggiu in Lombardy, when two members of the group climbed into the fountain to embrace the sculpture, named “Domina” by artist Enrico Butti. Another member of the group then pushed the sculpture with a stick, causing it to fall and shatter. The entire incident was captured on CCTV. The manager of the villa where the tourists were staying reported the incident to the police, but the group had already left Italy.
Bruno Golferini, the manager of Villa Aleco, stated that it was too late to prevent the damage once they realized what was happening. He explained that the tourists disregarded the ban on entering the fountain and were filmed by surveillance cameras. Some of the group filmed the incident on their cell phones. Golferini added that the damage to the sculpture would be difficult to repair due to additional damage to the fountain tiles.
It is suspected that a well-known German influencer was among the group responsible for the damage. Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and minister of infrastructure and transport, called them “imbeciles” rather than influencers. Francesca Caruso, the culture councillor for the Lombardy region, stated that they would seek compensation from the group, emphasizing that those who damage cultural and artistic heritage must face severe consequences.
This incident follows two similar acts of vandalism in Italy. In July, a British tourist faced backlash after allegedly carving his name into the walls of the Colosseum using a key. He could face up to five years in prison and a €15,000 fine. Shortly after, a Swiss teenager was caught carving her name into the ancient amphitheatre. A local tour guide managed to capture a video of her scratching the letter N into the wall.
These incidents highlight the importance of respecting cultural heritage and the severe consequences that can result from acts of vandalism. It serves as a reminder to tourists to appreciate and preserve the historical sites they visit, rather than causing damage that may be irreparable.