Rome's Spanish Steps fountain damaged in soccer riot

The incident preceded a Europa League match between Feyenoord and Roma.

By Ed Adamczyk

ROME, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The famed Barcaccia fountain, at Rome's Spanish Steps, was damaged by rioting fans of the Dutch soccer team Feyenoord Thursday, leading to 23 arrests.

The supporters are in Rome for a Europa League match, Thursday evening, against Roma.


A section of the recently-restored fountain was defaced and pieces of the sculpture were broken off. The massive sculpture depicts a half-sunken boat, was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and completed in 1627 by Pietro Bernini and his son. Beer bottles and other refuse were seen floating in the fountain as smoke bombs went off. Area shop owners closed their doors out of safety concerns.

The Netherlands Embassy in Rome condemned the incident but mentioned only a portion of Feyenoord fans participated in the riot, a spokesman saying, "There's a group, a sort of 'Black Block' who has nothing to share with the real Feyenoord supporters. This group of people got drunk and behaved in a very shameful way. We fully trust in Italian police."

The team was allotted 5,000 tickets for the match, part of a pan-Europe tournament. Extra security was assigned to the Stadio Olimpico, which will have 1,300 police in attendance.


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