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Florence's Vasari Corridor latest landmark in Italy to be vandalised

Uffizi director calls for "iron fist" response to vandalism.

Italy's culture minister slammed the defacing of the Vasari Corridor in Florence on Tuesday night as "another very serious act of vandalism" against one of the country's landmark heritage sites.

"Those responsible must be immediately identified and sanctioned" - Gennaro Sangiuliano said - "They must understand that from now they will be prosecuted even for the smallest mark."

Dating to 1565, the elevated kilometre-long passageway runs across Ponte Vecchio to connect the Uffizi Galleries with Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens.

The 16th-century structure was designed by Italian Renaissance painter and architect Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo I de' Medici, patron of the arts and founder of the Florentine Medici dynasty.

The graffiti scrawled on the monument facing the river Arno includes a series of letters and numbers including the signature 'Dks 1860'.

"I condemn in no uncertain terms the defacing of the pillars of the Vasari Corridor that took place last night", stated Uffizi director Eike Schmidt, describing the vandalism as a "detestable act".

"Clearly this is not the whim of a drunk but a premeditated act, and I remind you that in cases of this kind in the United States prison is foreseen for up to five years", Schmidt said, adding that it was time to replace "symbolic punishments" with the "iron fist of the law".

"This morning we woke up to this shameful act of vandalism on the columns of the Vasari Corridor" - Florence mayor Dario Nardella wrote on social media - "We immediately launched an investigation with the municipal police".

The Vasari Corridor has become the latest Italian landmark to be targeted by vandals this summer after the Colosseum in Rome and more recently the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

Minister Sangiuliano said the government recently proposed a law to make those who damage cultural landmarks pick up the bill for the work required to restore the monuments they deface.

He said the bill has already been approved by the senate and that after the summer break he hopes it will get the definitive go-ahead from the chamber of deputies.

Sangiuliano announced the move in April after climate activists poured black liquid into the waters of the 17th-century Barcaccia fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Photo Dario Nardella

Marymount - International School Rome
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