Livia Borghese, CNN
An incident in which vandals apparently smeared red pigment on a famous white cliff on the island of Sicily has been branded ‘cowardly’ by local authorities.
An investigation has been launched after the Scala dei Turchi, or Steps of the Turks – a distinctive waterfall of marly limestone rocks rising out of the Mediterranean on the south-west coast of the island – was allegedly targeted on the night of January 7-8 .
Photos released by police show red streaks flowing down the slopes of the rocks, which are a popular tourist attraction and, according to legend, were once a landing site for Saracen or Arab sailors.
“The splendid white marl cliff of Scala dei Turchi in the Agrigento region, an attraction for visitors from all over the world, has been shamefully degraded,” Sicily’s President Nello Musumeci wrote on Facebook.
“We condemn the perpetrators of this cowardly gesture, which constitutes an outrage not only to a landscape heritage of rare beauty but also to the image of our island.”
Major Marco La Rovere, in charge of the investigation as head of the neighboring Carabinieri of Agrigento police department, said what appeared to be paint was in fact red oxide powder, commonly used for make building plaster.
“With the humidity and the seawater, the oxide powder melted,” says La Rovere.
Volunteers and city technicians equipped with water pumps were able to remove the oxide the next day, La Rovere said, adding that investigators were confident that the security camera footage would reveal the identities of those behind it. of the incident.
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