By Barbie Latza Nadeau | CNN
Mass tourism has turned the Italian metropolis of Florence right into a “prostitute,” the director of Galleria dell’Accademia has mentioned, sparking anger and requires her to step down.
Though Cecilie Hollberg has apologized, Italian politicians have slammed her feedback this week as being offensive to Florentines.
“As soon as a metropolis turns into a prostitute, it’s tough for it to turn into a virgin once more,” Hollberg, a German artwork historian who has been head of the museum since 2015, informed reporters Monday on the sidelines of a press convention laying out the museum’s successes.
“We now not discover a store, a standard store however solely issues completely for vacationers with devices and souvenirs and this needs to be stopped,” she added.
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Hollberg’s feedback instantly garnered push again from Italy’s tradition minister and Florence’s mayor — each of whom have been vocal about having Italians lead Italian museums prior to now.
Hollberg’s mandate on the museum ends in June, and there have been calls earlier than this scandal to not renew her contract and award it to an Italian as a substitute.
In 2014, Italy’s tradition minister Dario Franceschini opened up all museum directorships to foreigners, which is one thing Italy’s present prime minister Giorgia Meloni mentioned she would rectify because the contracts expired.
Florence mayor Dario Nardella informed Florence Metropolis Council on Monday that the town deserved respect and that tourism employs hundreds of individuals.
“Tourism is a useful resource, it should be managed however there may be not a single problem on which this administration has not fought, from the safety of the historic heart with UNESCO laws to the safety of typical merchandise, the cease to sure actions and lastly with a rule that stops short-term leases,” Nardella mentioned.
Matteo Renzi, former prime minister and former mayor of Florence, mentioned he would take the problem of Hollberg’s tenure to the tradition ministry.
“I’ll submit a query to the Minister of Tradition Gennaro Sangiuliano on the shameful phrases of the director of the Accademia Gallery. Defining Florence as a prostitute is unacceptable. Hollberg should apologize or resign,” he mentioned in a press release Monday.
Hollberg has backtracked on her remarks, saying she loves Florence and that she didn’t imply to offend the town or its inhabitants, clarifying that she solely meant that Florence, like Venice and different cities, had been being “crushed” by tourism, in keeping with a spokesperson for the museum.
“I’m sorry I used the mistaken phrases. What I meant to say is that Florence should be a witness to extra aware tourism, not hit and run. With the Academy, for instance, we’ve tried to boost each extraordinary a part of it,” she mentioned within the museum assertion despatched to CNN Tuesday.
‘Severe and offensive’
Florence is a big vacationer draw. A world heritage website, it has a excessive focus of museums, church buildings, historic buildings and artworks.
Italy’s tradition minister Sangiuliano mentioned his ministry would look additional into the matter, however known as Hollberg’s phrases “severe and offensive” in nature.
“Florence is a superb metropolis that represents an necessary a part of our nationwide identification and historical past. Offending her means hitting all of Italy and our emotions. I’ll consider all acceptable initiatives,” he mentioned in a press release offered by the tradition ministry.
Florence deputy mayor Alessia Bettini known as the feedback “delusional” in a press release despatched from her workplace to CNN.
“Calling Florence a prostitute is probably the most severe offense ever heard from an individual who additionally holds such an necessary institutional position,” Bettini mentioned within the assertion.
“In response to the director of the museum, due to this fact, Florentines are the kids of a prostitute and the vacationers are the purchasers of a prostitute? Hollberg offends the historical past of Florence, the place she labored, she offends the work of hundreds of individuals and above all she offends the Florentines, herself, who as a non-Florentine, owes Florence quite a bit.”
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