In what seems to be a series of unfortunate events for Italian landmarks this past summer, the 460-year-old Vasari Corridor, in Florence, has recently been vandalised by tourists who graffitied over 7 of the passageway’s exterior columns. The cost of the restauration has been estimated by the country’s Culture Ministry to €10,000.
In the early morning of 23 August, the “DSK1860” message, a reference to TSV 1860 Munich, a third-division German football club, appeared on the corridor thar connects the Uffizi Gallery to the Boboli Gardens. Checking surveillance footage at the scene, Carabinieri police told CNN they identified two suspects committing the act of vandalism at 5:20am.
While the perpetrators remain unnamed, the police were able to confirm the two suspects as 20- and 21-year-old German tourists staying in an Airbnb with nine other students. Upon searching the lodging under a search warrant, the Carabinieri found spray paint cans and stained clothes. Fingerprints of all members of the tourist group are currently being compared to the ones on the spray paint cans to further solidify the case.
“Clearly this is not a drunken whim, but a premeditated act”, said the director of the museum Eike Schmidt, calling for “the hard fist of the law” in punishing the two tourists. “Enough with symbolic punishments and imaginative extenuating circumstances”, the director added.
Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano also responded to the incident, saying in a statement that “actions like this must not remain unpunished” and promising that a clear message will be sent to vandals that “even a small scratch will be prosecuted from now on”.
Earlier this summer, Ivan Dimitrov sent an apologetic letter to the Mayor of Rome saying he was unaware of the antiquity of the Colosseum after being caught scratching his and his girlfriend’s names onto the monument’s wall. Merely two weeks later, a Swiss teenager was filmed doing the same thing, while another month later another tourist breached the Trevi Fountain to fill her water bottle.