Tourist killed in famous church by falling chunk of ceiling

Elias Hubbard
October 20, 2017

Florence's famous Basilica di Santa Croce will remain closed indefinitely after loose stonework struck and killed a Spanish tourist.

The Basilica of the Holy Cross is the final resting place of Michelangelo, Niccolo Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei. The fatal accident raised questions about the state of Italy's considerable cultural heritage, which includes numerous aging and fragile monuments.

The 6-by-6-inch stone fell almost 60 feet after it broke off from the side of one of the church's chapels, ABC News reported.

Irene Sanesi, the president of the Opera di Santa Croce, which runs the church, told Reuters news agency that maintenance of the church had been "carried out constantly" in recent years.

"For that reason, all of the work has been done in a constant manner over the years".

The chunk of stone had supported a beam in the right transept of the basilica, the main Franciscan church in Florence and a tourist hotspot.

"There will be an investigation by magistrates to understand how this dramatic fact happened and whether there are responsibilities over maintenance", he said.

Over the summer, two people were seriously injured when plaster fell from the ceiling of Sicily's Acireale Cathedral during a wedding.

In October 2012, a cornice fell from the wall of the Royal Palace of Caserta, near Naples, causing part of the roof to cave in just a few feet from tourists.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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