Tragedy at Belvedere

Closed after fatal fall

Editorial Staff
July 24, 2008

What was supposed to be a joyous occasion turned tragic for the family members and friends of Veronica Locatelli. The 37-year-old artist and filmmaker was celebrating her birthday in Forte Belvedere in the early morning hours of July 16 when she fell to her death in the centuries-old stronghold.


According to the local media, Locatelli was celebrating her birthday at the bar in Forte Belvedere overlooking Boboli Garden. That same evening the bar was hosting an inaugural party to celebrate the newly opened exhibition showcasing contemporary photographer David La Chapelle.


At around 1:00am, police say Locatelli was walking from one group of friends to another when she was spotted by a security guard near one of the fortress' bastions. The guard says that he called out to warn her to stay away from the low wall above the gorge, but his efforts were futile. She slipped and plummeted eight metres, dying from head trauma. Police believe she may not have seen the gorge as the area is very poorly lit.


 Palazzo Vecchio has closed Belvedere to investigate the tragedy, and Florence's Public Prosecuting Office will also launch a probe. Just two years ago, a 20-year-old visitor from Rome, Luca Raso, fell to his death in the same location.


Once an imposing Granduchal stronghold in the Oltrarno, Forte Belvedere was constructed by Ferdinand I de' Medici in the 1590s to ensure the protection of the city. Today, it is used for exhibitions and concerts.


With the building closed to the public until July 27, all scheduled events are suspended.


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