Parkour group damages historic web site in Matera, Italy | EUROtoday

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The metropolis of Matera in southern Italy is regarded as among the many oldest constantly inhabited cities on this planet. Its stone-made buildings lie atop a hill above a ravine, whereas its millenniums-old cave dwellings helped make Matera a UNESCO World Heritage web site.

Because of its historical past, the town has attracted consideration from adventurers and Hollywood: Scenes from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” have been filmed there, as have been elements of Patty Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman.”

But Matera lately attracted consideration of a distinct sort, after a London-based parkour group carried out stunts there — and broken a historic constructing within the course of.

The stunt comes amid growing scrutiny of the toll of human exercise — from vacationers to influencers, road artists and athletes — on historic cities and monuments. Many cities have put in place measures to curb overtourism, whereas some have banned guests from sure scorching spots due to experiences of dangerous habits.

In Matera, the traceurs — the identify of those that follow parkour, which consists of leaping, operating, climbing and extra to journey throughout constructions — recorded themselves performing a stunt on a constructing and inflicting a protruding stone to fall off.


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“Hide the evidence,” a voice behind the digicam could be heard instructing a member of the staff in a video printed in April by the globe-trotting parkour group Team Phat.

Neither the town, nor UNESCO, nor Team Phat responded to requests for remark from The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Team Phat beforehand claimed duty for a stunt in Venice during which a person threw himself off a constructing right into a canal — prompting the mayor to name him an “idiot” and vow to arrest him. The group later mentioned it acquired a positive and was banned from the town.

In the 23-minute lengthy model of the video filmed in Matera, a member of Team Phat could be heard saying, “We’ve been banned from Venice, so we can never go back. So, we’ve come to the closest thing to it.”

The video reveals the traceurs performing stunts throughout Matera. Eventually, one in every of them could be heard suggesting to Devon McIntosh, a member of the staff, that he use a stone jutting from the aspect of a constructing to launch himself to a different rooftop.

“It’s stable enough that you can just hang on it, but I’m scared it could just break,” the individual could be heard telling McIntosh. “You’re a bit lighter than me, so it might be more of a you challenge. … Get ready to jump.”

In the video, McIntosh first efficiently jumps on the stone and launches himself from it onto the alternative rooftop. Two others are then filmed doing the identical leap, with one showing to linger on the stone. Then, the footage reveals McIntosh doing the leap once more — and the stone offers away underneath his toes, whereas he plummets to the bottom. He exclaims to the digicam that he harm his ankle, and later reveals what look like accidents on his thigh and elbow.

“We were really trusting that thing too much,” he says.

A clip of the stunt, which has been considered 2.4 million occasions because it was posted on Instagram two weeks in the past, sparked indignant reactions on-line, with many customers commenting that parkour must be practiced with extra take care of the encompassing setting.

“Even if the spots are crazy Matera should not be used as a parkour park, that stone could have been there before the discovery of America or even earlier,” wrote one commenter, who mentioned he’s Italian and practices parkour.

“It was really wrong to break that rock that likely had a lot of history and pride for the owners and original builders,” one other commenter mentioned.

As journey has turn into extra reasonably priced and accessible, experiences of dangerous habits from guests have elevated. Last yr, the supervisor of a villa in northern Italy mentioned a 150-year-old statue toppled over and shattered after German vacationers tried to take an image with it, in line with Reuters. In 2022, a Saudi customer drove a Maserati down the world-famous Spanish Steps in Rome, damaging them, in line with police; two weeks later, an American vacationer threw an electrical scooter down the Spanish Steps, inflicting about $27,000 price of damages.

People have additionally been criticized for utilizing monuments as sports activities arenas. In 2021, a Singaporean man was charged with willfully interfering with a nationwide monument after he wakeboarded at a conflict memorial within the metropolis state, in line with the Straits Times.