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Vandals damage famed fountain in Rome May 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture.

Italian police arrested four vandals in the early hours of May 15 for damaging one of Rome’s most famous fountains with a screw driver.

Passers-by alerted security forces when they saw four drunken people, men from Ukraine, Lithuania and Moldova and a Russian woman, scratching at a papal emblem on the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat) at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

The fountain, created by Pietro Bernini and his son Gian Lorenzo in 1627-1629, has the form of a half-sunken ship with water flowing out of it. Legend has it that Pope Urban VIII commissioned it in remembrance of a boat that was brought there in 1598 when the Tiber river flooded.

The scratch on the fountain, which like many other ancient monuments in Rome has been pockmarked by erosion and the passage of time, is barely visible but it is likely to rekindle the debate on how to protect Italy’s architectural treasures.

“All one can do is restrict access to places like these but it’s a shame that that has to be done,” said a foreign tourist walking past the fountain.

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