Povera Barcaccia!

Emily Hayes (February 20, 2015)
Feyenoord fans rampaged the historic center of Rome and the newly restored, 400-year-old Bernini Fountain of Barcaccia. The oval basin of the fountain is now filled with broken glass and marble.

 The Feyenoord and Roma match on Thursday at Stadio Olimpico drew over 6,000 Feyenoord supporters to Rome.

One day before the game, tourists in Campo de' Fiori fled the shops as Dutch fans rampaged through the streets. Stores were forced to close their doors, while the “Field of Flowers” was covered in trash. 33 people were arrested for their crime of damage to a beautiful part of the historic city.

 However, these rampages continued when the Feyenoord fans destroyed a newly renovated, 400-year-old Bernini work of art at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. The Dutch threw beer bottles and unopened cans into the Fountain of Barcaccia, or Fountain of the “Old Boat”. It had only been unveiled in September, and 200,000 euro, or $270,000, was spent in restoring it.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the Fountain of Barcaccia in 1627. The shape of the fountain is a sinking ship, with the water flowing over the bow. The oval basin of the fountain is now filled with broken glass and marble.

The damages to the fountain are worse than anticipated, and believed irreparable. The art historians of Rome are in tears, as there are broken marble fragments of up to 8 by 3.5 centimeters. Although the cost of the damage to the fountain has not yet been quantified, just the closure of the stores around the Spanish Steps alone has cost up to 3 million euro, or $3.4 million dollars, in sales according to ABC News. Other buses and properties were also vandalized.

The Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, is enraged at the recent events. He tweeted that Rome is “devastated and hurt” by these violent destructions of the most beautiful parts of the city.

Many people are concerned that Rome would not be ready for a terrorist attack, if it was not ready to protect itself from these Dutch hooligans. After the attack in Paris, and with all of the violence and instability in the Middle East, many are calling for more security. According to ABC News, the mayor of Rome said he is going to discuss this concern with Italy’s top law enforcement official, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

Understandably, the mayor wants the Netherlands or Feyenoord to pay for the damages inflicted on the 17th century masterpiece and in the streets of historic Rome. However, the Dutch ambassador said the government refuses to take financial responsibility.  Yet they have promised to punish the criminals responsible for the outrageous events that transpired on Thursday. Many Italian donors have offered to contribute.

The damages were not just financial. Several police officers were injured during the riot that broke out around the Spanish Steps. Six Feyenoord fans were arrested in Piazza di Spagna, and eight were given fines of 33,000 euros.

Feyenoord director Eric Gudde has profound disapproval of the destruction that occurred in those two days, and emphasizes that Feyenoord is distant from them.

After what transpired with the Feyenoord supporters, perhaps it is best that neither team won, with the match ending at a one to one draw. Gervinho’s first half opener was matched by Colin Kazim-Richard’s strike on 55 minutes. 





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