|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Friday, October 28, 2016
|Italian Capital of Rome Grapples with Endless Vandalism |
Italian Carabineri, paramilitary policemen, inspect a damaged bust during an anti-vandalism patrol at Pincio park in downtown Rome. Vandals famously sacked Rome in 455, plundering the city for two weeks, wreaking havoc and looting artistic treasures. More than 1,500 years later, they are still at it. They scrawl graffitis on the walls of historic buildings, hammer statues in Rome's beloved parks, throw dye into the Trevi Fountain. Faced with the recent spat of vandalism, culture officials are trying to prevent the damage as much as they grapple to restore the defaced art. But what makes protecting the Italian capital especially challenging is the sheer amount of its treasures. AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito.
By: Alessandra Rizzo, Associated Press Writer
ROME (AP).- They knock the noses off statues in a park that was a favorite haunt of poet John Keats and throw dye into the iconic Trevi Fountain.
Vandals are increasingly on the prowl in the Eternal City and now Italian authorities are fighting back, sending more police, installing cameras and even considering using convicts to protect monuments and artworks.
For the troublemakers nothing is sacred: earlier this month vandals left anti-pope graffiti on the Scala Santa, or Holy Stairs, a major Catholic site that draws pilgrims from around the world who climb its 28 marble steps on their knees.
Compounded by pollution, negligence and a chronic shortage of funding, vandalism adds to the city's difficulties in preserving its unique artistic heritage, forcing officials to use valuable funds in emergency restoration.
What makes protecting the Italian capital especially challenging is the sheer wealth of its treasures.
"You'd need an army of 20 million people to be there every day, every night," says Daniel Berger, an art consultant with Italy's Culture Ministry. "You have to somehow protect them by encouraging people to understand that it's their heritage, and that it's the Western European culture."
Officials have beefed up police patrols of monuments and parks including sending plainclothes officers mingling with the crowd of visitors and have installed CCTV.
The agency in charge of keeping Rome clean is working with jail authorities to allow former inmates or convicts released on parole to help clean up vandalized monuments. There is no set date but the initiative might begin in coming months, regional authorities say.
Officials say their efforts are paying off, and that vandals are being caught thanks to the cameras. Still, "it takes 30 seconds to damage a monument," notes Rome's top art official, Superintendent Umberto Broccoli.
One of the most common targets of vandals is the 19th-century park atop the Pincian Hill, where statues of celebrated Italians are routinely vandalized, their noses broken, their faces smeared with offensive writing. The park was frequented by Keats, the Romantic poet whose last home in Rome sits at the foot of the hill. It's right in the center of the Italian capital, and with its breathtaking view of the city is a favorite of Romans and tourists alike.
The Carabinieri police force has increased patrols in the park, sending in six-member squads 24 hours a day. They walk or drive their cars and motorbikes among the park's graveled avenues; at night, they set up a roadblock in the main driveway to the park, checking for drunken youths. Vandalism is often perpetrated by students or young people under the fumes of alcohol.
But the damage keeps happening.
In May and June alone, 13 of the park's 230 busts had their noses broken and four were uprooted and thrown to the ground, said Alessandro Cremona, a chief restorer for Rome's city hall. Another three were vandalized in the promenade atop the Janiculum hill, another classic Rome spot.
The Rome city hall did not provide an overall figure for the funds it uses in emergency restoration. But officials say that each "nose job" costs some euro800 (about $1,000), while for the busts that are toppled the cost soars to about euro1,500 (about $1,950) each.
"It's tens of thousands of euros that could be spent elsewhere and which instead we are forced to spend to remedy stupidity," Broccoli told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
It is not just the parks.
Years ago, a man threw red dye into the Trevi Fountain to the shock of onlookers, an act recently reprised by another vandal. Bandits splashed red and green colors on the white walls of a museum recently built by U.S. architect Richard Meier.
Said Lt. Ciro Aquino of the Carabinieri, speaking during a recent patrol at the Pincio park: "Every corner you turn, there's something that must be protected."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
July 29, 2010
Egon Schiele's Portrait of Wally Now on Display - Only Opportunity to See it in the U.S.
Jackson and Lee, August 1953: Photographs by Tony Vaccaro
Italian Officials are Seeking Private Sponsors to Restore Colosseum
Lady Lever Art Gallery Announces Old Master Drawings Exhibition
National Archives Reveals Newly Donated Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers
Rockwell Group to Design New Cafe at the Whitney Museum
Italian Capital of Rome Grapples with Endless Vandalism
Sam Francis Foundation Gifts Over 500 Prints to Milwaukee Art Museum
Archaeologists Discover 2,400-Year-Old Weapons and Tools in Valencia
Ship Lost for More than 150 Years is Recovered in Canada
Maximilien Luce Retrospective at Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny
MFA Houston Announces Acquisition of Over 160 Decorative Arts Objects
Portrait of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta Presented at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Celebrates Chicago Collectors' 50 Extraordinary Gifts
Crystal Bridges to Loan Major Works by Parrish, Rockwell
Ohio's Butler Museum to Host Exhibition by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood
Original Paintings by Roger Tory Peterson Highlight Christie's American Paintings Sale
Rafael Viñoly to Design Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate
Rare 3D Film Shows Warsaw Devastated After WWII
Milwaukee Museum to Host Mummies Exhibition
Ikon.5 architects Selected for International Architecture Award by Chicago Athenaeum
Exhibition Showcases 22 Artists, from Jasper Johns to Tara Donovan
Salvador Dalí's Mustache Finds New Home on a Delta Plane in Celebration of New Exhibition
Alexander and Susan Maris' The Pursuit of Fidelity Opens Edinburgh Arts Festival at Stills
Lawsuit Says Over $100 Million Art Collection is Largest Holocaust Art Claim
Vermont Man Jailed in Vandalization of Cow Sculptures
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- New light shines on Sandro Botticelli masterpieces at Florence's Uffizi Gallery
2.- Cincinnati Art Museum's Van Gogh exhibition brings guests Into the Undergrowth
3.- Degas retrospective debuts in the U.S. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
4.- Special exhibition features large-scale photography by Richard Mosse & Edward Burtynsky
5.- Nobel panel gives up knockin' on Dylan's door
6.- An unprecedented, international-loan exhibition of works by Claude Monet is at the Kimbell Art Museum this fall
7.- Exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek explores Rousseau's landscapes
8.- Yoko Ono unveils her first permanent US art installation
9.- ArtReview's annual Power 100 names Hans Ulrich Obrist as the artworld's most powerful figure
10.- British artist David Hockney makes a splash at Frankfurt fair with 2,000-euro book
Italian police recover 2,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx stolen from Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum
Kept in Jean-Léon Gérôme's family for 140 years, Promenade du Harem will be sold at auction
First solo exhibition with Los Angeles painter Pamela Jorden opens at Romer Young Gallery
Italian Capital of Rome Grapples with Endless Vandalism
Painting at Center of Caravaggio Mystery Unveiled in Rome
Sonar Scanners Find Ancient Wrecks Off Italian Coast
L'Osservatore Romano Says New Caravaggio May Have Been Found
Churches and a Gallery in Rome to Honor Caravaggio with Rare Night Visits
Italian Police Show Latest Recovery of Looted Art at the Colosseum
Alfa Romeo Celebrates its Centenary with Sculpture by Gerry Judah
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.