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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Selfie crazy people ~ crown of historical marble statue of Hercules broken

Cremona, is a city and commune in  Northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana (Po valley).  The city of Cremona is especially noted for its musical history and traditions.  The Loggia dei Militi (Italian: "Soldiers' Loggia") is a historical building in Cremona, northern Italy. As reported by an inscription on its façade, it was built in 1292. The Loggia was the seat of assemblies for the local "Società dei Militi".

What do people do when they visit monuments?  In India, you could see scribbling at places of significance  down to train toilets and elsewhere.  Somehow, people are enamoured to writing their names and their adolescent love on rocks, trees and elsewhere !

The insatiable urge of the modern man  at a historic  place or scenic location or nearer celebrities ...  is to take  ‘Selfie’ and immediately share them on social networking sites !  Selfie is ‘át arms length’ – meaning one can only extent the camera or cellphone to arm’s length and contrive an angle to take a photograph !  understand that in London there is even course on "the art of self-portraiture."  Away in the "selfie capital of the world", the Philippines has an art museum that, instead of keeping you away from art pieces, encourages you take selfies with them and share your pictures with the world.  For those enamoured with selfies, and keen to perfect the art – came the selfie stick which is criticised by some as associated  with the perceived narcissism. 

‘Selfie sticks’ were recently banned at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London, founded in 1824.  The move followed bans in galleries in France and America – including the Palace of Versailles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  The National Gallery, which allowed cameras for the first time last year, is expelling the gadgets because they fall under the category of ‘tripods’, which are already prohibited. Now in an act vindicating such ‘selfie’ bans  - two tourists could face criminal charges in Italy after breaking priceless Hercules statue... while trying to snap a selfie !

MailOnline reports that a  pair of tourists could face criminal charges in Italy after they shattered part of a priceless statue in the northern city of Cremona while trying to snap a selfie. The holidaymakers, whose nationalities have not been revealed, caused the damage when they climbed onto the marble statue of Hercules at Loggia dei Militi palace.

A piece of the statue’s crown collapsed under the weight of the men, causing it to fall to the floor and shatter into pieces, according to Milan’s Corriere della Sera newspaper. Photos circulating on social media show the crown after it fell to the floor and shattered into pieces.  A local newspaper said the statue's crown broke off when two men climbed onto it to snap a selfie.  The Statue of the Two Hercules, which was severely damaged in Friday night’s incident, is regarded as a symbol of the city. It depicts two figures of Hercules – the city’s mythical founder – holding the emblem of Cremona.

Corriere della Sera reported that police have identified two men who they believe broke off the piece of the statue. Experts are being brought in today to assess the damage and determine whether the statue can be repaired.  Built in 1700, the statue  has been in its current position at Loggia dei Militi palace  since 1962.  From the top of city gates, the statue was moved around the city and has been in its current position at Loggia dei Militi palace since 1962.

Now a popular tourist attraction, the palace itself once housed Cremona’s militia and was completed in 1292. Italy has a problem in recent months with tourists who have been behaving badly at some of the country’s historic landmarks.  In April a Japanese woman was charged by police after she wrote her name and date on the dome of the Florence Cathedral. She used an eyeliner pencil on the marble, but it did not cause any permanent damage.  A month before that incident two women from California were arrested for carving their initials into the Colosseum in Rome. After carving the eight-inch high letters, the women posed for a selfie.  In 2013, an American tourist upset locals when he accidentally snapped the finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary at Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) in Florence.  The 55-year-old man, from New Fairfield, Connecticut, was attempting to compare his finger to that one the statue when the digit broke off.

Some  of the important historical monuments of India remain neglected and tourists do more harm by scribbling and climbing on them.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th May 2015.


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