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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Tourist crashes drone into Rome monument in latest mishap | Italy

A tourist has been charged with flouting strict no-fly zone rules after crashing a drone into the roof of a prominent monument in central Rome in the latest drone-related tourist mishap in Italy.

The Argentinian man, 39, had been flying his drone in Piazza Venezia when he lost control of the device and sent it crashing into the roof of Palazzo Venezia, a 15th-century building from where the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini delivered some of his most famous speeches.

The drone was recovered by the building’s security staff before being seized by police, who reported the tourist for failing to comply with a no-fly drone zone over the city, according to reports in the Italian media.

People who want to film or take shots of the Italian capital from above with a drone must get permission and be registered with Enac, the national body for civil aviation. Piloting a drone in central Rome and the Vatican is completely out-of-bounds because of all the precious monuments.

Benito Mussolini addressing crowds from the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, Italy, during the declaration of the Italian empire in May 1936.
Benito Mussolini addressing crowds from the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, Italy, during the declaration of the Italian empire in May 1936. Photograph: George Rinhart/Corbis/Getty Images

However, tourists appear to be oblivious to the rules. Last week, two Mexican tourists crashed their drone into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The brother and sister faced police action for breaking no-fly rules around the Tuscan city’s famous landmark.

In 2020, a 40-year-old tourist from Poland crashed his drone inside the Colosseum despite having been warned that piloting the device inside the ancient amphitheatre was banned. In July last year, a 61-year-old man was charged with an “attack against transport security” after flying his drone above Rome at an altitude of 2,000 metres. The man, who was a member of a Facebook page for drone fanatics, was reported after his device was seen by a professional pilot.

Fortunately there have been no reports of damage to monuments due to the impact of crashing drones. Penalties imposed have not been reported either, but fines for violating drone rules range from €516 to €64,000.

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Italy celebrates Liberation Day on Monday, marking the 77th year since the country’s liberation from German occupation and fascist rule.

Mussolini made some of his most famous speeches from the balcony of Palazzo Venezia, including declaring war against Britain and France on 10 June 1940. The building now houses a museum.

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