An American tourist has sparked outrage overseas not for giving the finger but for accidentally taking one from a 600-year-old Italian statue.
An unidentified tourist at Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo snapped off the pinky finger of a statue dating to the late 14th or early 15th century by medieval sculptor Giovanni D'Ambrogio, museum officials confirmed.
The tourist said to have been a 55-year-old man from Missouri, was reportedly trying to measure it when he violated museum decorum by putting his own hands on the marble art work titled, Annunciazione.
A security guard witnessed the tourist's destruction seconds too late.
The museum's head, American Timothy Verdon, criticized the tourist's foolish behavior, vehemently scolding: "In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten, that is, 'Do not touch the works.'"
The tourist apologized and was described as "very disappointed."
Verdon remarked that the finger was not the original but had been made out of plaster before being added at a later date.
"We are sure that the damage was caused by the American tourist because the work has recently returned from the exhibition at the Uffizi Golden Flashes, where it was exposed, and then on its return was carefully controlled," said Verdon.
It was not immediately known how much the repairs will cost or how long they will take.
"It is a fairly simple restoration will be done by the restorers of the Opera del Duomo," the museum told the Daily News in an email.
The tourist, who was in the company of three other people according to the museum, was reported to the city police of Florence.