There are a few basic rules in museums. The first, and most important, is: don't touch the art. Unfortunately, that's just what one 55-year-old American tourist from Missouri did during a recent a recent visit to Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. The result? A 600-year-old statue lost a finger.
The man, whose name had not been released, was reportedly measuring his hand next to the late 14th century piece of art when he touched the statue's finger, causing it to break off.
"We are sure that the damage was caused by the American tourist because the work has recently returned from the exhibition at the Uffizi Golden Flashes, where it was exposed, and then on its return was carefully controlled,” the museum's head Timothy Verdon told the New York Daily News. “In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten – that is, 'Do no touch the works.' "
The tourist apologized and was said to be “very disappointed," and for good reason; in addition to dealing with the embarrassment of breaking a piece of valuable art, the man also has to deal with Florence's police department, who were notified of the incident by the museum.
Patrick Broderick, 55, from New Fairfield, Connecticut, was attempting to comparing his finger to that on a marble sculpture at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) when he amputated the digit.
Italian police confirmed his name to MailOnline this afternoon.
What makes the accident even more embarrassing is that married Broderick is an emergency surgeon at Danbury Hospital, Connecticut - surely someone who is better than most with being careful with his hands.
And in a further excruciating twist, Broderick was arrested and taken into custody in front of his wife and his two college-aged children.
To contact the author of this post, email firstname.lastname@example.org