Rome’s JPII statue to be unveiled again

The "completed" version of Rome's controversial statue of Blessed John Paul II in front of Termini station is to be unveiled for the second time on 1 October.

Located in Piazza dei Cinquecento, the work of noted Italian sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi caused a furore as soon as it was presented to the public on 19 May 2011, with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano famously describing it as resembling a sentry-box.

An expert technical committee was then established, headed by the city’s superintendent for cultural heritage Umberto Broccoli, to supervise the re-working of the piece.

The main focus of Rainaldi's work has been the reconstruction of the head which was melted down and remodelled following complaints of scant similarity between it and the late Polish pontiff. In addition the veneer is to be resealed to stop the seepage of rain water, three sections of the cloak altered and the green hue reworked to a bronze colour.

The base will be raised by 20-30 cm and although the monument will be repositioned slightly it will stay on the same site. It will also be surrounded by a flower bed and monitored by security cameras to prevent vandalism following a graffiti attack days before the statue's reworking began last October.