Tourist smashes two statues in the Vatican

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(CNN) -- Just when you thought the summer of tourists behaving badly was over, another person on vacation wrecks another priceless artifact.

This time it's the turn of a tourist who smashed no fewer than two ancient Roman sculptures into pieces at the Vatican on Wednesday.

The episode took place in the Museo Chiaramonti, part of the Vatican Museums, around lunchtime. The space holds around 1,000 works of ancient statuary, and describes itself as "one of the finest collections of Roman portraits" in the world.

Two of those portraits are now facing an uncertain future after the tourist knocked over one in anger, then toppled another as he fled the scene.

The man, reported to be an American, had demanded to see the pope, according to newspaper Il Messaggero. When he was told he couldn't, he allegedly hurled one Roman bust to the floor.

As he ran off, with staff in pursuit, he knocked down another.

The two works of art have been taken to the inhouse workshop to be assessed. While around 2,000 years old, they are thought to be secondary works of art, rather than famous works, a source told Il Messaggero. According to La Repubblica, one bust has lost its nose.

As for the tourist, a spokesperson for the Vatican Museums said in a statement: "The person who knocked down the statues was stopped by the Vatican police and has been handed over to the Italian authorities."

Tourists damaging monuments has been a theme of this summer in Rome. In July, a Canadian tourist was caught carving her name into the Colosseum, while American tourists were caught hurling scooters down the Spanish Steps, breaking off pieces in the process, and a Saudi visitor drove his Maserati down the same architectural icon.

This story was first published on "Tourist smashes two statues in the Vatican."