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Summer 2023: Vandalism Acts Against Italian Monuments

It was intended for the summer of 2023 to be a time of celebration of the rich artistic and cultural history of Italy, but a number of vandalizing incidents marred the season. While Italy was getting ready to show the world its splendor, some people opted to destroy and pollute priceless pieces of art and landmarks.

This list of the most notable vandalism incidents that marred the summer of 2023 in Italy serves as a reminder of how vulnerable our priceless cultural heritage is and how vital it is to preserve it.

August 23: Columns of the Vasari Corridor in Florence

On August 23, Florence awoke to find the Vasari Corridor’s columns, which overlook the Arno and lead to the Ponte Vecchio, covered with graffiti.
“We contacted the local police right away to begin an inquiry. In order to adequately punish these reprehensible people, we will use all the cameras and instruments at our disposal”, according to Mayor Dario Nardella.

Vandalic Acts Against Italian Monuments
Credit: Ansa

Venice’s Rialto Bridge on August 10

There were written and symbolic messages on the Rialto Bridge in Venice, precisely three days after a comparable incident occurred in Milan, but the authorities quickly corrected the situation.

Vandalic Acts Against Italian Monuments
Zoom in on the Venice Bridge’s vandalized facade | Credit

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan on August 7

Under the watchful eyes of tourists, three young guys managed to scale the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II’s entry arch on the evening of August 7 and vandalize it. Firefighters and law enforcement had to intervene to stop this vandalism in broad daylight.

 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The gallery’s battered facade | Credit

Tower of Pisa, 7 August

In a couple of weeks, from Rome to Pisa. A young girl was carving a heart and two letters in one of the columns of the seventh ring of the Tower of Pisa when she was startled by the police. The girl then acknowledged that she had inscribed her initial and the boyfriend’s initial inside a heart.

She will also face charges of violating the urban police regulations, which prohibit damaging the city’s aesthetic, historical, or monumental heritage through defacing, sketching, engraving, or other means.

Pisa's Tower
Damage to one of the Pisa Tower’s columns – Vandalism Acts Against Italian Monuments | Credit

Colosseum, 23 June

Only in 2023 have there been five defacements at the Colosseum. This time, a young traveler who decided to engrave the words “Ivan+Halley, 23″ received a hefty fine. The video, in which you could clearly see his accomplishment of capturing a love moment with a key, went viral right away. It was in the hands of the cops so quickly.

Gennaro Sangiuliano, the minister of culture, expressed his hope that our legal system would find and punish those responsible for the gesture at the Flavian Amphitheater.

Vandalic Acts Against Italian Monuments - Colosseum
Tourist immortalized while carving the lettering on the Colosseum’s front | Credit

Colosseum, 15 July

This is the tragic conclusion of the Colosseum’s story. Evidently, engraving initials on a nearly two-thousand-year-old monument was popular this summer. Very poor. A young Swiss traveler who was 17 years old was the main character on July 15. An Italian tour guide immortalized the act by alerting the Colosseum archaeological park’s security, which in turn notified the cops.

Vandalic Acts Against Italian Monuments - Colosseum
Young Swiss Girl at the Colosseum – Vandalism Acts Against Italian Monuments | Credit

In short, we are all Italian citizens, and the destruction committed against Italian art and culture in the summer of 2023 is immoral and abhorrent. These incidents serve as a reminder of how vulnerable our history is and that we must act decisively to protect it for the coming generations.

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