A Spanish tourist has been killed by a piece of falling masonry in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. As reported by The Guardian, the 52-year old victim was hit by "a piece of decorative stone that fell from a height of 20 metres (66 ft) as he visited the religious building with his wife." Reports suggest that the fragment was around 15cm by 15cm (6 by 6 inches) in size; according to Yahoo, the fragment "had supported a beam in the right transept of the Basilica."
Following the incident, the attraction has been closed to visitors indefinitely.
Photos shared by tourists on TripAdvisor show scaffolding inside the Basilica as recently as four years ago. As of 2016, visitors reported that areas of the Basilica were under renovation.
With such a rich, relatively underfunded, and rapidly deteriorating built heritage, Italy has suffered similar incidents in recent years. In 1989, a 14th Century campanile (bell tower) collapsed in Pavia, killing 4 people. In October of 2012, a cornice detached from the wall of the Palace of Caserta near Naples; a part of the roof subsequently collapsed.
The Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, has said in light of the incident that prosecutors will "conduct an investigation to determine whether faulty maintenance was to blame."