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British pupils on class trip to Florence damage 16th century tabernacle of Madonna and Child in famous piazza – landing school with hefty bill
- Whitchurch High School in Cardiff said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ by pupils
- The damaged ornament will be assessed before case is brought before a judge
- Judge will decide if the school is liable to pay compensation for the damage
Pupils from a high school have trashed a historic 16th Century monument on a cultural trip abroad.
Whitchurch High School in Cardiff could be forced to pay damages after pupils left a religious marble ornament in pieces during a trip to Florence.
The base of an ornamental cabinet known as the tabernacle of Canto alla Paglia was found shattered yards away from the city’s famous cathedral.
The tabernacle of Canto alla Paglia before it was damaged (left) and after (right)
The marble tabernacle contains a picture of the Madonna and child from the late 16th Century
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, on Friday, June 22.
According to Italian website La Nazione, a group of the tourists 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.
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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 world-renowned 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.
On Friday the Italian Polizia Municipale confirmed damage to the monument had been caused by pupils at a Welsh school.
Whitchurch High School said it was ‘extremely disappointed that the behaviour of a very small number of its students’ and was investigating the incident
A source at the 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 five-day 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 been reported by national Italian media including newspapers and website La Repubblica.
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.’
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.
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