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Michelangelo's David 'threatened' by high-speed train

Florence statue could 'collapse' due to tunnelling vibrations

03 March, 15:46
Michelangelo's David 'threatened' by high-speed train (ANSA) - Florence, March 3 - Michelangelo's David could be toppled by reverberations from work on a new Italian high-speed train line, an expert has warned.

The famous statue, said underground architect Fernando De Simone, could "collapse" because of tremors emanating from tunnel excavation.

"In Florence, tunnels will pass about 600 meters from Michelangelo's statue of David, the ankles of which, it is well known, are riddled with micro-fissures. "If the statue is not move before digging begins, it will collapse," he claimed.

De Simone is an expert in underground construction from Padua who has been pushing the Region of Tuscany and the City of Florence to move the statue of David from its current location at the Galleria dell'Accademia to an underground museum he says should be built. "There is a high probability of (the statue's) collapse," De Simone explained. "The risk of collapse or slippage in the marble of the statue's lower joints will be very high if the resonance caused by excavation machinery for the high-speed train tunnel, as well as the vibrations of passing trains thereafter, are added to existing vibrations caused by groups of 60 visitors at a time...and oscillations generated by automobile traffic in surrounding zones".

De Simone added "it would be preferable to move the statue to a purpose-built museum, which would also protect it in case of an earthquake, and would allow visitors to see it from multiple points of view: ascending, descending, and from a spiral perspective, as Michelangelo wished and as (art critic and historian) Carlo Ludovico Raggianti amply demonstrated".

Michelangelo's masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture depicts the Biblical hero David. The marble male nude stands just over five meters tall, and was created between 1501 and 1504. Originally positioned in a public square outside the Palazzo della Signoria, it was moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873, and a replica placed in the square.