Italy police identify German tourists suspected of Vasari Corridor vandalism

Florence landmark vandalised in graffiti attack.

Italian police on Wednesday identified two German tourists allegedly responsible for spraying graffiti on Florence’s Vasari Corridor which links the Uffizi Galleries with the Boboli Gardens.

Carabinieri officers used surveillance footage to track down the suspects behind the vandalism, which occurred at dawn on Wednesday, leading them to an apartment where nine other German citizens were staying on holiday.

The 11 tourists are aged 20 to 22, reports local newspaper La Nazione, and the graffiti scrawled on the columns of the 16th-century landmark relates to German third-division football club TSV 1860 Munich.

The elevated passageway, which dates to 1565, was designed by Italian Renaissance painter and architect Giorgio Vasari at the behest of Cosimo I de’ Medici.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, Italy’s culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano thanked the carabinieri for promptly identifying the alleged perpetrators behind the vandalisation of the Florentine landmark.

“Acts like this must not go unpunished” – Sangiuliano said – “Now let justice take its course.”

Earlier the minister had pledged “zero tolerance” for those caught vandalising Italian heritage sites, saying: “they need to understand that even the smallest mark will be prosecuted from now on.”

Uffizi director Eike Schmidt condemned the “despicable act”, saying it was time to swap “symbolic punishments” for the “iron fist of the law”, stressing that in the US such cases carry a five-year prison term.

The Vasari Corridor is the latest landmark in Italy to be targeted by vandals this summer after the Colosseum in Rome and more recently the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.