School tour pupils trash city’s historic monument
Pupils from a respected Welsh high school have trashed a historic 16th Century monument on a trip abroad.
Whitchurch High School in Cardiff could be forced to pay damages after youngsters left a religious marble ornament in pieces during a trip to Florence.
On Friday, June 22, the base of an ornamental cabinet known as the tabernacle of Canto alla Paglia was found shattered metres away from the city’s famous cathedral.
A 15-year-old pupil was questioned by police for damaging public property before being released at 2.45am.
Another pupil was taken to hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries after being hit by the debris.
According to Italian website La Nazione, a group of the Cardiff pupils had been playing with an LED parachute when it became stuck on the monument on Piazza San Giovanni.
It is believed one pupil then climbed on the shoulders of another to reach the object when the ledge gave way.
According to Italian news reports, the marble tabernacle contains a picture of the Madonna and child from the late 16th century.
It has infuriated many in the worldrenowned Italian city with one blogger calling for the culprits to be banned from Italy for life.
Pictures from the scene show a cordon around the broken monument surrounded by shocked passers-by.
The Renaissance painting inside the recess appears to be undamaged.
The Italian Polizia Municipale confirmed yesterday that damage to the monument had been caused by pupils from a Welsh school.
A source at Polizia Municipale said the ornament will now be assessed before the case is brought before a judge, where it will be decided whether the school will have to pay damages.
The incident took place during a fiveday trip to Italy for Whitchurch High School’s design and technology department.
Pictures from the school’s Twitter page show pupils enjoying the city, where they visited the Ducati motorcycle factory among other attractions.
Following the damage, the story has been reported by national Italian media including newspapers and website La Repubblica.
Over the years the Cardiff high school has gained a reputation for producing national and international sporting stars including Gareth Bale, Sam Warburton and Tour de France yellow jersey owner Geraint Thomas.
A spokesman for the school said: “Whitchurch High School is extremely disappointed that the behaviour of a very small number of its students has not lived up to the high standards expected.
“An investigation is currently underway and we are speaking to the staff and students that went on the trip.” > Pieces of the tabernacle on the ground after it collapsed. (Pictures supplied by La Nazionale newspaper)
> Teenagers from Whitchurch High School have come under fire after leaving marble a religious relic in pieces during a trip to Florence