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Italy’s ‘Verona Arena’ amphitheatre damaged by 78-ton sculpture

The accident occurred in the late morning of Monday, January 24th but was only disclosed to national media late in the evening. 

At the time of writing, it wasn’t yet clear how the event unfolded, though Verona’s Archaeology and Fine Arts Superintendent, Vincenzo Tinè, told Ansa that the steel comet fell to the ground as it was being lifted out of the amphitheatre. 

The structure – 82 metres in length and weighing around 78 tons – reportedly defaced a section of the arena’s stands, with Tinè describing the damage to the venue as “irreversible” earlier on Tuesday. 

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The arena was sealed off by local law enforcement authorities immediately after the accident and the scene was later surveyed by prosecutor Alberto Sergi, who was reportedly set to launch an official inquiry into the collapse. 

At the time of writing, it wasn’t clear how long exactly the arena would remain closed to the public, though repair works were said to require weeks.

A number of well-known figures from Italy’s art world have commented on the accident so far. 

Controversial art critic Vittorio Sgarbi was among them as he said that the steel comet, which has been used as part of the building’s Christmas decorations since 1984, should “never be let into the arena again”.

A Roman amphitheatre dating back to around 30 AD, the Verona Arena is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved ancient structures of its kind.

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To this day, the building is used as a venue for some of the most important large-scale opera performances in the world.

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