The Italian Almanac

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Dante Alighieri

Sex and the Poet

Two young people have found themselves at the centre of a political row in Florence after being photographed having sexual intercourse beneath the statue of mediaeval poet Dante Alighieri in Piazza S. Croce in Florence.

The storm broke after local newspaper Corriere Fiorentino carried a report of the incident, which drew a small crowd of amused bystanders, by two exponents of the rightist Northern League party who had witnessed the scene and taken photographs of the coupling pair which they sent to Florence's centre-left Mayor Matteo Renzi.

"Piazza Santa Croce has become an open-air brothel," said city councillor Mario Razzanelli. "Drug and alcohol pushing were no longer enough: free sex was also needed. The square is out of control, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy". Razzanelli and his party collegue Federico Bussolin added that the pair were "foreign and probably drunk or under the influence of drugs".

Renzi replied that the local authorities would look into the incident, but he also slammed his political opponents for their conduct. "Personally, should I find myself in such a situation, (rather than use my cellphone to take photographs) I would call the municipal police so they could intervene and restore order and decorum," said the 37-year-old mayor, who has said he may make a bid to be the centre-left's candidate for premier in next year's elections.