American Tourist Caught Peeing Next to 16-century Statue in Florence Could Face $12,000 Fine
A 21-year-old man from New Jersey was caught peeing on the steps of Florence’s historic Loggia dei Lanzi around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
A security guard caught the tourist on camera and when municipal police arrived at the scene, they issued a ticket for “acts contrary to public decency,” according to Nove da Firenze. The charge is not criminal but comes with a fine that could be anywhere from $6,100 to $12,400.
The Loggia dei Lanzi is Florence’s famous outdoor art gallery that houses some of its most recognizable works, including the marble Medici Lions. The square was built in the late 14th century and became one of the world’s first open-air exhibition areas during the 16th century. It remains free and open to the public 24/7.
The tourist was caught relieving himself next to a statue of Hercules and Cacus that was sculpted by Baccio Bandinelli in the early 16th century. The piece was built as a companion to Michelangelo’s David.
This is, unfortunately, not the first time Florence has dealt with misbehaving tourists (although headlines from Rome tend to be more prominent). Last year, the city began hosing down the steps of historic basilicas to stop people from eating there. At the time, the mayor said there was an “increase among those who don’t respect our cultural heritage, who sit down on church steps, eat their food and leave rubbish strewn on them.”