Tourist strips naked on the steps of Italian cathedral

Julia Buckley, CNNUpdated 20th October 2022
The woman stripped off on the top of the steps and posed for photos covered in a red material.
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(CNN) — From driving a car down Rome's Spanish Steps to surfing down the Grand Canal in Venice and smashing sculptures in the Vatican, some tourists this summer have been treating Italy as if it's their personal theme park.
Now, following a Czech tourist sunbathing topless on a war memorial and Americans skinny dipping in Venice's canals, three visitors to the Amalfi Coast look set to be charged with "obscene acts" after a woman was caught staging an impromptu naked photoshoot on the steps of the cathedral of Amalfi.
On Monday morning at around 7.30 a.m. the woman was caught on camera by appalled locals posing for pictures with just a red strip of material covering her front, in front of the cathedral doors, which were cast in 1067 in the-then Constantinople, and beneath a mosaic of St. Andrew, whose relics are said to be housed inside.
The location of the shoot was particularly hurtful to members of the community, said art historian and writer Laura Thayer, who who lives in Amalfi and writes the Ciao Amalfi blog.
"That it happened at the church is what made the episode so shocking," she told CNN.
"The Duomo is a place of worship and a place very close to the hearts of the Amalfitani. That specific backdrop touches the historic memory of the locals. The bronze doors hearken back to the days of the Republic of Amalfi. These doors open for processions, for weddings, for funerals -- moments that make life.
"Yes, it's beautiful, but Amalfi is so much more than a pretty backdrop for a photo on social media."
One local woman who videoed the event can be heard calling the tourists "crazy." "Naked at the church," she says in disbelief.
The cathedral -- which dates back to the ninth century -- is dedicated to the apostle St. Andrew, with his relics said to be kept there since 1206. It was built during Amalfi's heyday as a maritime superpower rivaling Genoa, Venice and Pisa. Today its narrow streets are overwhelmed by tourists.
The cathedral holds what are said to be the relics of St. Andrew.
The cathedral holds what are said to be the relics of St. Andrew.
Alex Tihonov/Adobe Stock
Local website Positano News, which published the video, said that the trio -- who hadn't sough permission for the shoot -- had been caught by police before leaving the town. It added that their equipment didn't appear to be professional.
Amalfi Notizie, another local website which published the video on Facebook, said that the woman -- who arrived fully clothed at the church, and climbed the steps to strip off -- had told police that they were merely making a memory of their trip to the Amalfi Coast, rather than doing it for publicity.
A representative of the Amalfi police told CNN that the trio were English: a male photographer, plus the model and assistant.
They added that the police had referred them to the public prosecutors office for "obscene acts in a public place."
The archbishop of Amalfi-Cava has yet to comment. A spokesperson for the mayor of Amalfi did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.
In September, two women were caught having a midnight dip in the Sant'Andrea fountain of Amalfi. The baroque fountain, sculpted in the 18th century, is one of the highlights of the city, topped by a statue of St. Andrew.
Thayer said that Amalfi has been "busier than ever" this summer, and with the weather abnormally warm, the crowds keep coming.
"Episodes like these are good reminders to be respectful for the places we visit and the people who live there," she added.