Heavy tourist traffic has been blamed for large cracks that have appeared in the come of the world-famous Florence cathedral.
GTV PAN: Florence PAN TO Cupola
SV ZOOM IN TO CU: crack
SV ZOOM IN TO: scaffolding on building side
SV PAN DOWN FROM: Cupola to street (2 shots)
GV: people walk past building and tourists look at details (3 shots)
GV: almost empty street PAN TO building
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Heavy tourist traffic has been blamed for large cracks that have appeared in the come of the world-famous Florence cathedral.
SYNOPSIS: For tourists Florence is a must for sightseeing and one of the most popular tours is to the 500 year old cathedral there. Its great dome, begun by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1420, was considered a major engineering achievement of the day. Although there have been small cracks in the dome for some years it was only discovered during a routine inspection early this month that they were widening at an alarming rate.
Local authorities believe that unless there has been some unnoticed earth movement lately the main cause must be the heavy tourist traffic which swirls around the cathedral daily. One scientist has measured the vibrations at between four and six degrees on the mercury scale - that of a small earthquake. The Florentines are very worried about the damage and last week city authorities, shopkeepers and tourist operators held a meeting at which they agreed to impose restrictions on bus and coach traffic in the Cathedral's percents pending a thorough examination of the problem. Until a report on the condition of this masterpiece of the renaissance has been presented to the group all traffic will have to move at low speeds. No night parking will be allowed and coaches can't idle to keep coach air conditioning going while waiting for tourists inspecting the cathedral.