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Translated Jeff Matthews 

In Naples, the siren Pathenope is gone: they sawed her off her perch. They claim it was for the purpose of moving her into a museum to be set up in the near future. This is not the siren with the fish-tail, but rather the siren used as an air-raid alarm in the course of the Second World War. It warned the civilian populace to head for the shelters.

Good idea! My compliments!

On the other hand, Michelangelo's David was moved from his historical pedestal to the shelter of a museum, and that was in the second half of the 1800s. In any case, in his place today at Piazza della Signoria in Florence we can see a nice copy.

As uneasy as such comparisons may be, I cannot but stress that the Siren in question is not a work of art, but rather a reminder of the tragic bombardments directed above all at the civilian population. By that reckoning it's worth more than a work of art because it recalls a disastrous—and never adequately documented and revealed—war against a helpless population.

The most intelligent thing to do would be to put the siren back in place and underscore her presence with a big sign. Is that asking too much? Is it really too much to ask that we leave in place a recollection of the past? Or do we not want to remember that past because they setting us up for something similar in the present?

Anyway, she's gone and that's a fact. Fortunately, Fulvio Salvi noticed it and photographed it. Will that be enough to get people to call for her return?

Gianluca Padovan

P.S. Preceding articles:
Parthenope and the others – The Sirens of Naples No Longer Sing
They've Stolen Partenope, the Siren of Naples

For more information, see WW2 Air Raids on Naples

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