Vandalism attack on Pantheon

The damaged candelabra

 ROME—The Pantheon is the latest Roman monument to be attacked after a Romanian woman damaged two 18th century candelabra.

 The woman, 39, has no previous criminal convictions and is thought to be visiting Rome as a tourist.

 She reportedly entered the mausoleum of the Pantheon and immediately approached the wooden sculpture.  In an apparently motiveless attack, she snapped a wooden branch off the three-metre candelabra before throwing it on the floor, where it broke into two pieces. She then attempted to do the same to another branch but only succeeded in damaging it.

 The woman was then confronted by security staff, before being arrested by the police and taken to the Piazza Farnese station. The woman was detained on charges of causing aggravated damage to objects of cultural importance.

 As she was taken away the Romanian was heard saying, “I don’t know why I did it!”

 The woman will appear in a hearing in court on Monday where she will be required to explain her actions to a judge. It remains possible that she will walk free of any charges.

 This attack is the latest in a string of incidents of vandalism on Roman monuments.

 Two weeks ago, the marble head of a turtle sculpture was decapitated from the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Navona, The Colosseum was sprayed with grafitti back in January and November of last year saw Bernini’s famous Elephant and Obelisk sculpture damaged in the Piazza della Minerva.

 Currently, admission to the Pantheons is free but Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister for Culture, has discussed the possibility of introducing a ‘moderate’ entry charge starting in 2018.

 The attack comes at a time where increased security personnel are being deployed at Rome’s main attractions in anticipation of a potential terror attack. The country’s terror warning remains at level 2, the highest possible without a direct attack, due to the recent incidents in Europe.