NEWS » Football hooligans damage Rome - decency fighting back

Football hooligans damage Rome - decency fighting back

The European League game between Feyenoord and AS Roma saw two days of street battle and serious damage to the “Barcaccia fountain” designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1627. On the 18th of February 7,000 fans of the Rotterdam football team Feyenoord arrived in Rome for the match. Shops were forced to shut down as the Dutch football fans took over the central marketplace known as “Campo de' Fiori” and left it a field of trash. Then hundreds of drunken Feyenoord supporters threw empty beer bottles at the baroque “La Barcaccia fountain” in Piazza di Spagna. The vandalism left the fountain chipped and splintered with broken marble fragments of up to 8 by 3.5 centimetres.  

Twenty-three Dutch nationals were arrested, and the first eight have already been sentenced to 6 months in jail, or a 45,000 Euros fine. 

Roman citizens were furious and considered the event a desecration of the fountain, one of the symbols of the city.     

The total damage caused by the Feyenoord supporters amounts to 5.2 million Euros. 75 Thousands Euros will be needed for the 3 interventions of restoration which will be required. Tragic news if we consider that 209 thousand Euros had already been spent for the restoration concluded in September, now nullified by the devastation. The lost value of the monument and the permanent damage caused account for 1.2 million, that is one fiftieth of its property value of 60 million Euros. The image of the Italian capital and its safety has also been damaged, the negative impact on the touristic flow might result in a loss of 3 or 4 million Euros this year. There were also a hundred thousand Euros of damage caused by vandalism on buses. 40 thousand Euros of rubbish collection costs and 18 thousand Euros for the cost of the municipal police intervention.

Fortunately the first gestures of solidarity have arrived. The students of the Dutch city of the Celeanum Gymnasium of Zwolle city symbolically delivered to the City of Rome the result of a spontaneous money collection for the restoration of the Barcaccia, damaged by Feyenoord fans.  

Dutch private initiatives arose to promote the protection of the Barcaccia and other cultural sites in Rome. One of them, “Sorry Rome”, has already collected 11,000 Euros, while in Amsterdam a charity event, organized by “Wij zijn Romeinen” (we are also Romans) produced 6,000 Euros.

The FIGC (Italian football federation) has shown its intention to help in collecting funds for the restoration by organising a friendly match between Holland and Italy, still to be confirmed.  

Giulia Lombardo

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