The bill comes just weeks after an eco-activist group dyed the water in Rome’s Barcaccia Fountain black. 

Taylor Dafoe for Artnet – Vandals attacking monuments and other cultural sites in Italy may soon face five-figure fines, thanks to a new piece of legislation.  

In a meeting Tuesday, the country’s Council of Ministers approved a bill that would impose fines between €10,000 and €60,000 ($11,000 and $66,000) on defacers of cultural heritage. Vandals could be hit with criminal charges, too.

The bill, proposed by Italy’s recently-appointed Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, comes in the wake of recent high-profile acts of vandalism, including many instigated by climate activists. Earlier this month, members of the group Ultima Generazione dyed the water in Rome’s famous Barcaccia Fountain black—a demonstration against the government’s commitment to fossil fuels.  

The same group spray-painted the façade of the Palazzo Madama, the 15th-century home of the Italian Senate, in January. “Behind the act [is] the desperation stemming from the continual issuing of ever more alarming statistics and data on the eco-climate collapse,” Ultima Generazione said at the time. 

Protestors from the group Ultima Generazione after smearing paint on the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Florence, Italy on January 22, 2023. Photo: Laura Lezza/Getty Images.