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Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain

A group of French tourists have been fined after they were caught dancing semi-naked in a priceless fountain in Rome’s Monti district. The whole scene was caught on camera.

Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
The six French tourists were fined €269 each for their Dolce Vita-style bathing session. Screengrab: YouTube/Анастасия Потапенко

The incident happened in Piazza Madonna Dei Monti, a stone's throw from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike.

Dressed in nothing but their underwear, the six tourists, aged between 18 and 21, were filmed late at night as they danced and splashed about in the in the sixteenth-century fountain.

Within seconds, however, police are seen putting an end to their Dolce Vita-style bathing session, ordering them to get out of the fountain and put their clothes back on.

The six tourists were then fined €269 each.

SEE ALSO: Ten stupid things tourists have done in Italy

“Perhaps the young people didn’t even know the value of the monument which they treated like any old bathtub,” council member Marta Leonori was quoted as saying in Il Messaggero.

“Rome is an open-air museum and needs responsible and respectful tourism. That’s why we will never tire of appealing to the sense of responsibility and civility of those who visit our city.

“We don’t need tourism that damages and offends Rome and its monuments. Citizens and police are very active sentries in the defence of our artistic heritage,” she added.

Tourists are constantly hitting headlines for desecrating Rome’s heritage.

In August, two tourists got into hot water with Rome police after they were caught carving their names into a pillar of the Colosseum with a coin.

And in March a Canadian tourist even tried to steal a brick from the Colosseum by stashing it away in her backpack.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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