Time Essay: Can Italy be Saved from Itself?

VANDALISM can be a form of murder. There are 13th century panels in Siena whose painted demons have been scratched to obliteration by pious fingernails; the Mona Lisa has been stoned. Last week, in one of the most vicious examples of vandalism to date, Michelangelo's Vatican Pieta was almost ritually assaulted by a 33-year-old Hungarian-born Australian geologist who cried: "I am Jesus Christ!"

Nobody will ever know what went through the scrambled circuits of Laszlo Toth's brain when he climbed over the guardrail of the chapel of the Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!