Pupils on a school trip from the UK to Florence are set to receive a lifetime ban from Italy after destroying a 16th century religious monument. The group from Whitchurch High School in Cardiff also face weighty fines for their reckless behaviour in the Renaissance city. The 500 year old ornamental cabinet in question, known as the Canto alla Paglia, depicts a detailed rendition of Mary and Jesus and had remained in fine condition for many centuries.
The Welsh school boys involved climbed onto the ledge of the monument to the Madonna and child, when a toy parachute they were playing with became lodged on it. One boy climbed on his friend’s shoulders and from there fully onto the delicate surface of the art piece. The ancient fresco quickly crumbled beneath him, thundering to the floor and partially onto the head of another child. The two offenders were swiftly taken away by police for questioning and the injured child taken to hospital with minor injuries. Police in the city later confirmed the boys were fully responsible for the damage to the priceless artifact.
The trip to the famed artistic city of Florence was led by the D&T department of the school, who may now have to foot the large bill for restoration. A spokesman from Whitchurch High School said: “Whitchurch High School is extremely disappointed that the behaviour of a very small number of its students has not lived up to the high standards expected. An investigation is currently underway and we are speaking to the staff and students that went on the trip.”
The incident has been universally condemned and the school heavily criticised for both poor behavior management and inadequate supervision.