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Fountain in Rome’s Piazza Navona vandalized

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Two big chunks of marble are missing from the Moor fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. Italian police say a man has vandalized a fountain in the city's famed Piazza Navona, detaching two big chunks off a marble statue. The damaged statue was a 19th-century copy. A Rome culture official, Umberto Broccoli, said the pieces were recovered and can be reattached to the Moor Fountain. The Moor Fountain by 16th-century artist Giacomo della Porta is on the square's south end. Bernini added the central figure in the 1600s. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    People watch the Moor fountain in Rome's Piazza Navona Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. Italian police are on a manhunt after a vandal caught by security cameras attacked a fountain in the city's famed Piazza Navona, detaching two big chunks off a marble statue. The damaged statue was a 19th-century copy. A Rome culture official, Umberto Broccoli, said the pieces were recovered and can be reattached to the Moor Fountain. The Moor Fountain by 16th-century artist Giacomo della Porta is on the square's south end. Bernini added the central figure in the 1600s. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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ROME >> A man has vandalized a fountain in Rome’s famed Piazza Navona, detaching two big chunks off a marble statue.

The damaged statue was a 19th-century copy. A Rome culture official, Umberto Broccoli, said the pieces were recovered and can be reattached to the Moor Fountain.

Security camera footage on Italian TV stations and websites Sunday shows 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 at the scene. The whole attack lasted less than a minute, according to Italian news reports.

The copy of the original Moor Fountain by 16th-century artist Giacomo della Porta is on the square’s south end. Bernini added the central figure in the 1600s.

Investigators also were looking Sunday into whether the same vandal was behind another attack just a few hours later to another symbol of Rome: 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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