American Tourist Demands To See The Pope, Smashes Ancient Roman Sculptures

Museo Chiaramonti in the Vatican Museums

Photo: Getty Images

An American tourist has been taken into custody by Italian authorities for allegedly damaging two ancient sculptures at the Museo Chiaramonti in the Vatican.

According to the Washington Post, the man approached staff members at the museum and demanded an audience with Pope Francis.

When he was told that could not happen, he became enraged and ripped a bust off the wall. Then, as a security guard approached, the man tore a second bust off the wall as he fled.

He was detained for questioning and then turned over to the Italian police.

Museum officials said that the two busts, which were about 2,000 years old, sustained some damage but that they could be repaired.

"The 2 busts have been damaged but not particularly badly," Director of the Press Office for Vatican Museums Matteo Alessandrini told CNN. "One lost part of a nose, and an ear, the head of the other came off the pedestal."

"They will soon be restored and back at the Museum," he added.

According to the Italian news outlet Adnkronos, it will take between 300 and 350 hours of work and cost nearly $15,000 to fix the damage to the busts.

Officials did not identify the tourist and provide information about what charges he was facing.

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