Wednesday 17 January 2018

Dutch restorers offer to repair Rome hooliganism damage for free

The Barcaccia fountain, designed by famed sculptor Pietro Bernini, was damaged bu Dutch football fans
The Barcaccia fountain, designed by famed sculptor Pietro Bernini, was damaged bu Dutch football fans
The cost of restoring the 400-year-old fountain is thought to be upwards of €50,000
The fountain before it was damaged

Thomas Escritt

A Dutch restoration firm has offered to repair a 400-year-old fountain that was damaged when supporters of Rotterdam soccer team Feyenoord went on a drunken rampage in Rome's historic centre.

A group of fans hurled beer bottles into the Barcaccia fountain, designed by famed sculptor Pietro Bernini, before a Europa League match against AS Roma last Thursday.

The stone artwork was chipped and city officials are still assessing the extent of the damage.

Employees at Dutch company Royal Woudenberg came up with the idea of offering their services to the mayor of Rome during their lunch break on Tuesday.

"We found what happened really shocking and wanted to make a gesture to the Italians," said Lily Derksen, spokeswoman for Woudenberg's parent company Janssen de Jong.

Derksen said the company was prepared to spend up to €50,000 on the repairs, and if it cost more then it would seek help from others.

The Dutch government has said it will support individual initiatives to make good the damage.

Read More: Shocking scenes in Rome as riot police clash with football fans ahead of Europa League tie

She said Royal Woudenberg, whose past credits include work renovating Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, had made the offer in a letter to Italy's ambassador in The Hague.

"We simply said we would be happy to repair the fountain," she said, adding that it had been the ambassador's decision to make the letter public.

Rome residents laid flowers on the boat-shaped fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps after the violence, which ended with police firing teargas and arresting 29 Feyenoord fans.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said Dutch authorities were sending a team to Rome to help Italian police bring the vandals to justice.

"Rome belongs to us all," he said. "We will show that fan violence is unacceptable."


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