FLORENCE, ITALY.- Italian senator Paolo Amato chained himself to a column of the Uffizi museum to protest the loan of the work The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci for an exhibition at the National Museum in Tokyo. It will be part of the "Italian Spring" events to promote Italian culture and products from March 20 to June 17.
Senator Paolo Amato stated the loan exposes a priceless masterpiece to unnecessary risk and makes it less significant by using it in a commercial event. A group of art historians and intellectuals in Florence have signed a petition where they ask Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli to cancel the loan. Filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli is one of the persons that signed the petition. A banner held up at the protest read Rutelli, leave Florence alone.