After a period of exceptionally hot weather, Rome was struck by thunderstorms of unusual violence. During the storms a whirlwind funnelled into the Colosseum and dashed one of the leading works on display, a marble statue, to the ground. The statue, known as the Anzio girl, a Hellenistic original from 250-230 BC, is normally in the Museo Nazionale Romano at Palazzo Massimo but was on display in the Colosseum in an exhibition entitled Secret Rites about the religious mysteries of ancient Rome and Greece.
The charming 1.70 m-high statue is made in two different marbles, a finer one for the flesh and a courser one for the clothes. The girl is carrying a tray with a roll of cloth, a bay twig and a box with claw feet, which are thought to have mystical religious significance. These items were broken in the fall but they protected the face of the statue, so fortunately the damage is slight and restoration should not take long.
The statue of the Anzio girl was only discovered in 1878 when another violent storm carried away part of the wall of the Neros villa or palace at Anzio.