Unfortunate news coming out of Rome, as a woman purposely damaged two candelabras within the Pantheon. The candelabras were said to be 18th century and the woman is scheduled to appear in court, sometime soon.
The woman, Romanian and 39 years of age, reportedly walked into the tourist attraction and threw the wooden candelabras to the floor. One of the ornaments was hit with her fist, resulting in it breaking into many pieces. She tried to destroy a second one, before she was stopped by janitors on site and then arrested by authorities.
MSN reported that while authorities tried to find a reason behind the destruction of these historical pieces, the woman reportedly stated she did not know why she conducted the vandalism. The woman now has a charge of aggravated damage to objects of cultural significance on her record, because of the incident.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened in Rome or even Italy; as such, the police are working diligently on new methods to prevent these incidents from occurring to help preserve these historical and cultural buildings (and items) from any such occurrences in the future. A fine example of this is the fact that the Colosseum might soon have a ‘no-go’ area after an incident that occurred in January of this year, after some tourists tried to scale the attraction’s gate and break into the historical building when the attraction was closed. There is even discussion that tour buses just may be banned from the city’s center. In addition, Italy currently has severe penalties in place when it comes to visitors who damage or try to steal artifact.
Additional vandalism occurrences that have happened recently include: an U.S. tourist who broke off the finger of a statue (600 years old) in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo was forced to pay damages for the incident, as well as the fact that the Spanish Steps had undergone huge renovations last year to fix damage as a result of litter around the attraction, graffiti, and heavy foot traffic.
This latest Pantheon incident happened off the cusp of Italy’s Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini declaring harder penalties for those who participate in vandalizing vital sites, which may include time in jail.
Perhaps these harsher punishments will help tourists re-think actions before damaging or stealing historical and cultural items from the many attractions located within this incredible country.