A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Wielding sledgehammers and cans of spray paint, vandals have destroyed or defaced many of Rome's treasures in recent months. Particularly hard hit have been the city's villas, parks, and gardens. In the Pincio Gardens, part of the Villa Borghese Park, for example, many of the recently restored seventeenth- and eighteenth-century busts of distinguished artists, scientists, and statesmen adorning the shaded walks have been vandalized, their noses smashed and pedestals covered in graffiti. Breasts were drawn on the great Roman orator Cicero and Catherine of Siena's nose was bludgeoned, then painted green. According to several of Rome's conservators, the attacks, especially those by graffiti artists, seem always to follow a major restoration effort. In addition to damage inflicted by vandals, ancient sculpture and architectural fragments have been stolen from archaeological parks on a regular basis.