Neighbour drills through 500-year-old Italian church fresco

A sixteenth century fresco inside a Naples church was damaged on Tuesday when someone drilling next door accidentally perforated the artwork.

Neighbour drills through 500-year-old Italian church fresco
A fresco in a the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore, pictured above, was damaged by building work. Photo: Wikimedia

The accident happened during the course of over-zealous do-it-yourself work, which was being carried out on an adjacent building, Naples-based newspaper, Il Mattino reported.

The fresco, which depicts the Madonna with Saint Peter and a donor, is located inside the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore, in the centre of the city.

It is thought to have been painted by local nobleman and artist, Tomasso Assan Paleologo, between 1522 and 1533.

Fortunately, the neighbour's drill narrowly missed St. Peter's face, but caused a piece of the fresco from just above his shoulder to come away from the wall.

“There are no words for what has happened,” said Luigi Vinci, the president of Naples' engineers' association.

“We're talking about an immensely valuable work of art which attracts foreign tourists.”

To make things worse, the accident disrupted a graduation ceremony for students from the University of Naples' School of Oriental Studies, which had hired out the church for the occasion.

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?