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article imageAmerican tourist accidentally breaks 600-year-old statue in Italy

By Lizz Riggs     Aug 6, 2013 in Entertainment
Florence - An unnamed American man was reportedly trying to measure the finger of a priceless 14th century sculpture's finger when he accidentally snapped the digit off.
The statue is located at the Virgin Mary at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) in Florence, Italy.
The man, a 55-year-old from Missouri who was vacationing with his wife and another couple, was spotted by a security guard at the museum, but not soon enough to stop him from breaking the 600-year-old statue's finger off when he was trying to measure the digit. The exhibit is believed to be the work of the medieval sculptor Giovanni d'Ambrogio.
Timothy Verdun, an American who serves as the the head of the Diocesan Office of Sacred Art and Church Cultural Heritage and the Cathedral Foundation Museum in Florence, commented on the behavior, saying “In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, ‘Do not touch the works.’”
The tourist apologized for damaging the art, and today, a spokesman for the museum told MailOnline that he "will not be fined or face criminal action, as the museum has a permanent team of restorers on its books - and the statue has been broken three times in the past already."
Verdun admitted that the broken finger was not original to the piece, and had been added at a later date. While it's not an original finger, the price of any repair to the ancient artwork will be considerable and could likely not be a successful restoration in any event.
Fine or not, the tourist was subjected to the hatred of local Florentines, who consider his behavior thoughtless and disrespectful, rightfully so.
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