Investigation underway after vandals deface Sicilian natural wonder.
Police in Italy have launched an investigation into the vandalisation of the Scala dei Turchi, the famed white marl cliffs on the coast of Realmonte in southern Sicily.
A site inspection was carried out by officials from the Agrigento cultural heritage sperintendence on Saturday after the site was stained with red plaster powder the night before.
The superintendent's technicians established that vandals used red iron oxide powder, reports news agency ANSA, and that the damage appears not to be permanent, as confirmed by the fact that waves have partially cleaned the lower part of the cliff.
"The splendid white marl cliff of the Scala dei Turchi, in the Agrigento area, an attraction for visitors from all over the world, has been shamefully defaced" - said the president of the Sicily region Nello Musumeci, adding: "We condemn the perpetrators of this cowardly act."The white limestone cliff is formed in the shape of a staircase, leading to its name which translates into English as the 'Turkish Steps' or 'Stairs of the Turks'.
The Scala dei Turchi has been at the centre of a protracted legal dispute between the municipality of Realmonte and a local landowner, leading Italian prosecutors to seize control of the site in February 2020.
In recent years the cliffs have suffered from degradation, damaged by natural erosion and rock theft by tourists, amid claims of poor environmental preservation of the site.
The cliffs, which were put forward as a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2019, feature prominently in the Inspector Montalbano stories by Andrea Camilleri.
Cover photo Corriere della Sera
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Outrage in Italy as Scala dei Turchi cliffs stained red by vandals
Stair of the Turks, 92010 Realmonte, AG, Italy