Italy vs. Florence: Who Owns David?

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Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis

Florence has threatened to take the Italian government to court over questions of ownership of Michelangelo’s iconic David.

The Italian Ministry of Culture claims that because the Florentine republic no longer exists, the statue belongs to Italy. The statue is widely viewed as an integral part of Florentine heritage and draws 1.5 million visitors annually.

The ownership debate reignites every few years, as revenue from ticket sales to see the statue is collected by the Italian government, and not the city of Florence. The Accademia gallery, where David stands, collects over $10 million a year.

“The problem of the ownership of the work of art, which was brought up in a propagandistic manner, is a petty matter,” Italian Culture Minister Sandro Bondi told CNN. (via the Telegraph)