Ancient busts attacked and damaged at Vatican Museums

A man has been arrested after toppling two ancient busts in the Vatican Museums, with the artefacts sustaining damage. 

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The 65-year-old man is reported to be an American citizen who was previously reprimanded in the US for gross indecency and was in Rome for three days, according to Adnkronos. After being stopped by Vatican police, he told officials he wanted to see the Pope.

The damaged busts have been taken to the Vatican Museums’ in-house restoration lab, but it is believed to be unlikely that they’ll return to the condition they were before the incident.


A tweet, seen above, showed the artefacts lying on the floor, appearing to be detached. Representatives of the museum confirmed that the damaged busts are “minor works”.

The Vatican Museums averaged six million annual visitors before the interruption caused by Covid-19, but it is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. The Art Newspaper listed it as the world’s third most-visited museum in 2019. 

With 2025 marking the Catholic Church’s Jubilee Year, visitor numbers are expected to jump. Some 30 million visitors are predicted to make the pilgrimage.


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