by Melinda Gallo

Do not climb the monuments!

While I was working at my scrivania (desk) this afternoon, I heard a woman's voice screaming. I jumped up from my desk and walked up to the window. I was shocked with what I saw: a young man trying to climb to the top of the monumento (monument) in the piazza below. The woman who was on the back of a motorino (moped) that had stopped in the middle of the street. I heard her better this time when she yelled, "Scendi giù di lì! Get down from there!"

Living in Florence :: Do not climb the monuments!

The guy didn't pay much attention to her, so she yelled at him in English. His two friends were sitting on the brick wall along the Arno and didn't move. They began yelling at the woman, saying that their friend wasn't bad. She must have said something to him about being a bad person. His friends were American, so I assume that so was the guy who climbed up the monumento.

Finally he heard the woman yelling at him and he jumped down. He walked with his head down away from his friends and pretended as if he didn't do anything wrong.

I was completely immobilized as I didn't know what to do. I was so angry that someone would think that it'd be acceptable to climb a monumento in any city. Recently Bartolommeo Ammanati’s Neptune Fountain has been the center of much attention when one American girl late at night decided to urinate in it and then two other American girls dared each other to splash around in the fontana (fountain) one hot day. Unfortunately the examples I cite are about Americans, but I haven't seen any other articles about other nationalities doing such things.

And, of course, I was a witness to the young man who climbed on the monumento in front of my place whom I believe was also American.

I don't have much tolerance for such things and had he continued going up, I would've called the Carabinieri (military police) because they take things very seriously.

After the boys left the piazza, I wondered about where in the world is there a monumento that people can climb freely. All the ones in Florence have chains--albeit low enough to easily go over--around them. I couldn't think of any monumento that tourists are allowed to clamber up, but somewhere there must be one or people wouldn't think it's acceptable to do it here.

I am disappointed in these people for allowing themselves to lose all good judgment when they do such things in my beloved city. Of course, I would be upset no matter the place where people show disrespect for another country's treasures. I was very happy that the woman on the back of a motorino stopped to scold the boy on the monumento in my piazza. I hope he didn't try to make his way up another monumento, but I don't believe he came back to this one because I got up often to check up on it.

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