Tourist Breaks Statue At Florence Museum

Jennifer Deutschmann - Author

Aug. 6 2013, Updated 8:08 a.m. ET

An American tourist broke a statue at a Florence museum. The 55-year-old Missouri man broke the finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary. His name has not been released.

A security guard noticed the man handling the ancient work of art. However, by the time he reached the tourist, the finger had snapped off. As reported by MSN, staff at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo were outraged.

The statue is believed to be the work of medieval sculptor Giovanni D’Ambrogio. It is estimated to be around 600 years old.

The tourist who broke the statue apologized for his carelessness. He explained that he was simply trying to measure the statue’s finger. The statue was far more fragile than he expected.

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Despite his apology, the tourist is facing a large fine for damaging the artwork. While the finger was not the original, repair will be difficult and expensive. Timothy Verdun, who runs the museum, explains that restoration may not be possible.

Verdun, who is originally from the US, is disgusted with the tourist’s behavior:

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“In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, ‘Do not touch the works'”

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The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, or Museum of the Works of the Cathedral, is located in Florence, Italy. The building was created for the craftsmen working on the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in the 1200s.

As reported by, the building became a museum in 1891. The museum houses works by Donatello, Pisano, Bartolo, Michelangelo, and many other artistic masters.

The museum is said to house one of the most amazing collections of sculptures in the world. Museum officials explain that some of the statues displayed are casts. The originals are kept safe in storage.

The originals that are displayed are usually patrolled by guards. Unfortunately, the guards did not prevent a tourist from breaking one statue at the museum.

[Image via Wikimedia]


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