Rome's Trevi Fountain runs red as 'Renaissance' activist protests city corruption


Tourists at the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy got a shock on Thursday after Italian activist Graziano Cecchini poured red dye into the water to protest against the city’s corruption.

Cecchini, whom police later detained, said his action was a “cry that Rome isn’t dead, that it’s alive and ready to return to be the capital of art, life and the Renaissance.”

Cecchini said the dye would not damage the fountain, one of Rome’s most visited tourist sites, but city officials later drained the 18th century fountain as a precaution after assessing it for damage.

“Acts like this demonstrate ignorance and a total lack of civic sense,” Deputy Mayor Luca Bergamo said.

Read more: Trevi Fountain in Rome patrolled by tourist police for unruly behavior

500,000 colored balls on the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Cecchini was behind the colored balls stunt on Rome’s Spanish Steps in 2008

A repeat offender

Thursday’s incident was not the first time Cecchini had gained international attention.

He had poured red dye once before into Trevi Fountain in 2007 ahead of the city’s international film festival. A right-wing group later claimed responsibility for the act, claiming it was designed to protest against the costs of hosting the festival.

The 2017 Rome International Film Festival opened on Thursday.

In 2008, Cecchini made headlines after he rolled 500,000 colored plastic balls down Rome’s Spanish Steps.

Read more: Trevi Fountain – an eternal source of income

amp/kms (AP, Reuters)