Tourist breaks sculpture while taking a selfie

That’s one photo that’s definitely not going on Instagram.

An Austrian visitor to the Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, Italy damaged a plaster model of a 19th-century sculpture while trying to take a selfie on August 1. The tourist sat on the piece, breaking off its toes, and either didn’t notice or quickly fled the scene.

A guard noticed the broken toes and reported it immediately and a watch of the day’s security footage confirmed someone had broken it. The visitor was identified quickly thanks to newly placed pandemic-related name registration to enter the museum.

“Our heritage must be protected: adopting responsible behavior within the Museum while respecting the works and goods preserved in it is not only a civic duty, but a sign of respect for what our history and culture testifies and that must be proudly handed down to future generations,” the museum wrote on Facebook.

Fortunately, because the toes were not taken or damaged further, the museum hopes that this will ease the restoration of the piece.

In a twist, the visitor came forward three days later after reading about the incident in an Austrian newspaper. He confirmed that he had sat at the base of the statue to get a photo.

“I remain at complete disposal, it was irresponsible behavior on my part, the consequences were not known to me,” he wrote in an email to the museum. “During the visit I sat on the statue, without realizing the damage I evidently caused.”

Commenters on the museum’s update on Facebook seemed unconvinced by the tourist’s apology and tried to sway the museum’s board to take more action.

“he [should] have sued himself immediately and not after the media clamor. His are just crocodile tears,” one person replied.

“He noticed it right away, but only publicly apologized when he realized he hadn’t gotten away with it,” another commenter agreed.

“I find it really uncivilized,” someone else said.

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