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Vandal damages fountain in Rome

A vandal attacked the Moor Fountain in Rome’s Piazza Navona on Saturday morning. The damaged statue’s pieces have been recovered and can be reattached, an official said. A vandal attacked the Moor Fountain in Rome’s Piazza Navona on Saturday morning. The damaged statue’s pieces have been recovered and can be reattached, an official said. (Pier Paolo Cito/Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 5, 2011

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ROME - A man vandalized a fountain in Rome’s famed Piazza Navona, detaching two big chunks from a marble statue, officials said yesterday.

A Rome culture official, Umberto Broccoli, said the pieces were recovered and can be reattached to the Moor Fountain, which is on the south end of the piazza. The damaged statue was a 19th-century copy of the original Moor Fountain by 16th-century artist Giacomo della Porta. Giovanni Bernini added the central figure in the 1600s.

Security camera footage on Italian TV stations and websites showed a man climbing in the fountain and repeatedly attacking the statue - one of four large faces at the edge of the fountain - with a large rock.

The man struck Saturday morning, when the favorite tourist spot was still relatively quiet, and left before police arrived. The attack lasted less than a minute, according to Italian news reports.

Investigators were looking into whether the same vandal was behind another attack just a few hours later to the Trevi Fountain. A security camera caught a man hurling a rock at the Baroque masterpiece - though missing its target.

Italian officials have tried to fight vandalism in Rome, installing cameras and sending more police to patrol monuments. But the sheer amount of the Italian capital’s artistic treasures makes the task difficult.

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