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Bernini statue commissioned by Pope Alexander VII vandalised

A view of the damaged Elephant and Obelisk statue (AP)

Police in Rome are investigating the apparent vandalism of the famed Elephant and Obelisk statue designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the Piazza della Minerva near the Pantheon in Rome.

Rome’s cultural authorities said on Monday that overnight vandals broke off the tip of the elephant’s left tusk, which authorities recovered at the foot of the statue. Police were checking video in the area to identify the vandals.

The statue of an elephant carrying an obelisk on its back was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII. It was placed in the square in front of the Santa Maria Sopra Minevra Basilica in 1667.

Another Bernini statue, the La Barcaccia fountain at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome, was vandalised by Dutch football fans in 2015.