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Irish rugby fan is arrested trying to climb up landmark church in Rome


Tommy O'Donnell

Tommy O'Donnell

Rome santa andrea della valle

Rome santa andrea della valle


Tommy O'Donnell

An Irish rugby fan was arrested in Rome after he tried to climb the front of a 16th century church.

The man, in his 30s, was reportedly celebrating Ireland's win over Italy in the Six Nations last Saturday, with an English friend.

Italian media reported that the pair tried to climb the front of the Sant'Andrea della Valle basilica in the city centre.

They were reportedly carrying knives and damaged part of the wall of the church in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II just before midnight on Saturday.

The Irishman could be jailed for up to six years if he is found guilty of vandalising the listed building, according to local media reports.

The Sant'Andrea della Valle, which was completed in 1650 after 60 years of construction, is described as one of the greatest 16th Century churches in Rome.


In a separate incident a few hours after the pair were arrested, a man armed with a knife climbed on to scaffolding on the iconic Trevi Fountain.

The 29-year-old Romanian national was reportedly spotted collecting coins that tourists throw into the fountain, which is currently without water during renovation works.

When he was found by firefighters, he tried to hide before reportedly produced a knife and then climbing out and making an escape.

Police were alerted and chased him for a short distance before he was arrested and found to be in possession of a bag containing €70 in coins.