On the Italian island of Sicily, vandals smeared the famous Scala dei Turchi cliff with red powder. The escarpment, also known as the “Turkish Steps,” is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. Unidentified vandals are said to have smeared the shelf with iron oxide powder, which is red in color last Friday. Several locals gathered the next day to clean the cliff.
Sicily’s president, Nilo Musumesi, said he strongly disagrees with the crime. He described it as “an attack on a place of rare beauty and on the image of the island.” The police launched an investigation into the vandalism. For example, authorities will analyze recent purchases of the powder and surveillance photos to identify the culprits.
Vandals stained the cliff on the night of January 7-8. The next morning, several locals gathered to clean the rocks again with pressure washers. Fortunately, the powder was fairly easy to remove and some of it had already washed away by the sea water.
In 2019, the slope of the Scala dei Turchi was a candidate for a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, in 2020, the tourist spot is temporarily closed after complaints about the lack of maintenance of the rocks. For example, the escarpment not only suffers from natural erosion, but also the large number of tourists causes further decay every year. Some of them take pieces of rock from the cliff with them as souvenirs.
There has also been a legal dispute for years over who is the rightful owner of the plot of land. The 73-year-old Sicilian Ferdinando Schiaparra claimed that the cliff was his own (and not the property of the regional authorities). It was based on official documents from the nineteenth century. The case was eventually settled in his favour.
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