Angry He Couldn't Meet Pope, US Tourist Smashes Ancient Statues

They're being assessed, repaired after Vatican incident
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2022 3:00 AM CDT
Angry He Couldn't Meet Pope, US Tourist Smashes Ancient Statues
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Pater's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

An American tourist angry he couldn't meet the pope smashed two statues at the Vatican Wednesday, authorities say. The man was at the Museo Chiaramonti, one of the Vatican Museums, when he demanded an audience with the pope and his request was declined, CNN reports, citing local media. He threw a Roman bust on the floor in anger, and then, as he ran from the scene with staff members chasing him, he knocked another one to the floor. The two ancient Roman sculptures were taken to the inhouse workshop so the damage could be assessed. At least one bust reportedly lost its nose.

"The person who knocked down the statues was stopped by the Vatican police and has been handed over to the Italian authorities," a spokesperson for the Vatican Museums says in a statement. A source tells Reuters the guest was a man in his 50s who had been behaving oddly. The Museo Chiaramonti bills itself as one of the world's "finest collections of Roman portraits." The statuaries in question are considered secondary or minor works, rather than some of the more famous pieces, but they are around 2,000 years old, Artnet News reports. See pictures of the damaged busts at Wanted in Rome. (More Vatican stories.)

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