Rome monuments attacked by vandals

Vandalised marble statue on a fountain in the Piazza Navona The two areas of damage to the Piazza Navona fountain are clearly visible

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Three historic monuments have been attacked by vandals in the Italian capital, Rome.

In the first attack, a man was caught on security cameras chipping two pieces off a marble statue on a fountain in the Piazza Navona.

Hours later tourists watched as a man threw a rock at the famous Trevi Fountain in the centre of the city.

Police then said they caught an American student scaling a wall of the Colosseum to chip off pieces of marble.

Souvenirs

The fountain in the Piazza Navona is a 19th Century reproduction of a much earlier group of statues - now in a museum for safekeeping. It was not seriously damaged.

Police say the attacker could be the same individual who threw the rock at the Trevi monument - of Three Coins in the Fountain movie fame.

He missed, but his image was also captured on a security camera.

Police said the American student caught scaling the wall of the ancient Roman amphitheatre had been trying to chip away pieces of travertine marble to take home as souvenirs.

Rome's fragile art heritage is under attack by a new army of vandals - the name originally given to the invaders who first sacked the city and destroyed many of its monuments 15 centuries ago.

Part of an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome 2,000 years ago has just been covered in graffiti.

Despite the installation of 1,200 security cameras in central Rome and more frequent police patrols, protecting the Italian capital's artistic treasures is proving an increasingly difficult task in an age of mass tourism and government budget cuts.

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