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"Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute": German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

Karina VishnyakovaNews
The head of the Academy Gallery, Cecilia Hollberg, called Florence a prostitute. Source: Unsplash

The statement by the director of the Italian Galleria dell'Accademia, Cecilia Hollberg, has caused anger and calls for her resignation. According to the German art critic, mass tourism has turned the city of Florence, Italy, into a "whore".

This was reported by CNN Travel. Although the head of the Gallery apologized, Italian politicians criticized her comments, calling them offensive to Florentines.

''Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute'': German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

 

"When a city becomes a prostitute, it is difficult for it to become a virgin again," Hollberg told reporters at a press conference where she spoke about the museum's success. "We no longer see shops, normal shops, but only things exclusively for tourists with gadgets and souvenirs, and this has to stop," she added.

''Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute'': German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

 

Hollberg's comments provoked a negative reaction from the Italian Minister of Culture and the mayor of Florence, both of whom have in the past actively advocated for Italians to head Italian museums. Hollberg's mandate at the museum expires in June, and even before this scandal, there were calls not to extend her contract but to appoint an Italian instead.

''Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute'': German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

 

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella said that the city deserves respect, and tourism provides jobs for thousands of people. "Tourism is a resource, it needs to be managed, but there is not a single issue that the administration has not considered: from protecting the historic center with the help of UNESCO, to protecting typical products, to stopping certain activities," Nardella said.

''Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute'': German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

Matteo Renzi, former prime minister and former mayor of Florence, said he would raise the issue of Hollberg's tenure at the Ministry of Culture. "Defining Florence as a prostitute is unacceptable. Hollberg should apologize or resign," he said in a statement.

''Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute'': German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

 

The museum director took back her words, saying that she loves Florence and did not mean to offend the city or its residents. Hollberg clarified that she only meant that Florence, like Venice and other cities, is being "crushed" by tourism. "I'm sorry I used the wrong words. I wanted to say that Florence should witness more conscious tourism. With the Academy, for example, we have tried to improve every extraordinary part of it," she said in a statement sent to CNN.

''Tourists have turned Florence into a prostitute'': German-born Italian museum director provokes a loud scandal

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