Moment tourist knocks a chunk off marble sea god’s chariot and cracks a horse’s hoof while clambering up 500-year-old Fountain of Neptune in Florence to take a photo
- The 22-year-old German, who has not been named, is set to be hit with huge fine
This is the moment a tourist damages the Fountain of Neptune in Florence, knocking a chunk off the marble sea god’s chariot and cracking a horse’s hoof while clambering up to take a photo.
The 22-year-old German, who has not been publicly named, is set to be hit with a huge fine after he was accused of scaling the 16th century monument, causing an estimated £4,272 worth of damage.
Flickering CCTV in a strange purple hue due to the artificial light shows the man quickly making his way over to the fountain, which sits in the centre of the city’s Piazza della Signoria, before crossing the water and clambering onto the statue to pose for the picture and then running off.
The mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, posted a clip, accompanied by a photograph of the man standing beside the statue with his face pixelated.
He wrote: ‘This tourist thought it best to climb onto Nettuno for a selfie. Luckily no damage, the alarm system worked.’
The tourist was located within hours, with the mayor adding: ‘Thanks to the Municipality’s cameras he was identified and will pay a heavy fine. There are no justifications against vandalism of cultural heritage’.
The fountain was sculpted by Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giambologna between 1563 and 1565 to celebrate the opening of a new aqueduct. It is also known as the Biancone (great white) due to the brilliance of its marble.
The sea god on a chariot drawn by four horses is ringed by three young Tritons and four figures that represent the ocean spirit Doris, her daughter Thetis the Nereid, and two other marine divinities. The central figure, Neptune, stands over the other statues.
The German’s blunder is only the latest in a series of incidents involving tourists damaging Italian monuments this year.
In July, a 17-year-old Swiss girl reportedly carved her initials into the Colosseum in Rome, just weeks after another tourist defaced the building.
Police launched an investigation after Italian tour guide David Battaglino took a video of the unidentified girl carving the letter ‘N’ into the wall, La Repubblica reported.
Video posted on Twitter by the Italian news agency ANSA shows the girl, whose face is blurred, in the act before she notices that she is being filmed and stops.
‘It is the first time I have managed to film an act of vandalism at the Colosseum but in six years I have seen dozens,’ Battaglino told La Repubblica Roma.
‘There are also those who rip off parts of the wall. They even spat on me once for scolding a boy,’ he added.
In June, a man was caught vandalising the Colosseum in an act that infuriated officials.
Ivan Dimitrov, 27, a fitness coach from Bristol, who also goes by the name Ivan Hawkins, was caught on camera by American holidaymaker Ryan Lutz as he carved the words, ‘Ivan and Hayley 23’ into the brickwork with a set of keys on June 23.
Bulgarian-born Dimitrov was visiting Rome with his long-term girlfriend Hayley Bracey, 33, as part of a three-week European tour.
They were located in Bulgaria by police after they were identified through CCTV footage and hotel records.