Tourist’s ‘stupid’ blunder caught on camera


A clumsy tourist was caught on CCTV accidentally snapping the toes off a 200-year-old sculpture while posing for a photo.

The tourist, who has been revealed as a 50-year-old man from Austria, had been leaning against the artwork at the Gypsotheca Antonio Canova museum in Possagno, in northern Italy.

The sculpture was a plaster cast model of famed sculptor Antonio Canova's Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix.


The tourist was caught on camera posing with the statue – and breaking it in the process.
The tourist was caught on camera posing with the statue – and breaking it in the process.


The tourist - whose name has not been revealed - had been trying to capture the perfect photo during the embarrassing incident on July 31, The Sun reported.

When he executed his plan he snapped three toes off the sculpture in the process.

Police told CNN the man was part of a group of Austrian tourists.

They said the unfortunate incident occurred when the man left his friends to get a selfie while "sprawled over the statue".

There could yet be even more damage along with the toes, according to investigators.

The man was reportedly only found because of the new coronavirus measures that obliges people to leave their personal contact details with staff at the museum.

Authorities said the man confessed to the "stupid move" after being contacted by police.

Antonio Canova was an Italian sculptor who lived from 1757 to 1822 and famous for his marble statues.


Three toes broke off.
Three toes broke off.


His Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victrix dates back to 1805-1808. Corsica-born Paolina, or Paulina, Bonaparte was an Italian noblewoman and sister of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

Museum director Moira Mascotto said officials were working to restore the sculpture, Artnet reported.

"We reiterate that our heritage must be protected: adopting responsible behaviour within the Museum while respecting the works and goods preserved in it is not only a civic duty, but a sign of respect for what our history and culture testifies and that must be proudly handed down to future generations," the museum said in a statement.


Antonio Canova’s Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix. Picture: Alamy
Antonio Canova’s Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix. Picture: Alamy


The Austrian man isn't the only tourist to accidentally wreck havoc on valuable pieces of art.

In 2016, a tourist was charged to face court in Portugal after he accidentally destroyed a 126-year-old statue of former Portuguese king Dom Sebastiao outside a Lisbon train station.

In 2015, a 12-year-old boy visiting a museum in Taipei, Taiwan, triggered facepalms the world over when he tripped over and punched a hole in a $2 million painting.

Footage showed the child trip on his feet and stumble into the 350-year-old oil-on-canvas painting, Flowers, by Italian master painter Paolo Porpora, which required expensive restoration.

The same year, a pair of tourists accidentally shattered a 315-year-old marble statue in the Italian city of Cremona.

The tourists were reportedly trying to snap a selfie with the Statue of the Two Hercules - considered a symbol of the city - when they knocked it to the ground.

And in 2013, an American tourist accidentally snapped the finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary at Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence.

The 55-year-old man was reportedly attempting to compare his finger to one on the statue figure when it broke off.

It's not just artwork occasionally destroyed by tourists - in 2018 an American tourist landed in hot water after damaging an ancient ruin in Pompeii while trying to take the perfect holiday photo.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Tourist's 'stupid' blunder caught on camera