Florence mayor stops climate activists spraying paint on Palazzo Vecchio

Activists sprayed paint over Palazzo Vecchio.

Florence mayor Dario Nardella intervened personally to stop climate activists as they sprayed paint over the facade of Palazzo Vecchio, seat of city hall, on Friday morning.

Nardella was in the area at the time and reacted after he saw officers running after the activists, linked to the Ultima Generazione group, as they carried out the latest in a series of actions aimed at raising awareness of the climate crisis.

Two activists, aged 23 and 32, were detained by police, reports news agency ANSA, and Nardella later participated in power-hosing the washable paint off the building.

Labelling the activists “barbarians”, Nardella wrote on Twitter: “The attaack on art, culture and beauty, which are helpless in the face of violence and which are created for the good of humanity can never justify the battle for a cause, even the most acceptable.”

Nardella later tweeted: “On the subject of the environment and drought, more than 5,000 litres of water were consumed to clean up Palazzo Vecchio from the ‘environmental blitz’. Five thousand.”

In recent months climate activists in Italy have carried out a spate of actions in Rome and Milan, from gluing their hands to art works to staging road blocks.

The activists recently made headlines for spraying paint on the Italian senate, as well as covering Andy Warhol’s painted car in flour in Milan and throwing pea soup onto a Van Gogh masterpiece in Rome.

Last year they made international news by gluing themselves to the protective glass in front of Botticell’s Primavera at the Uffizi in Florence.