Florence and State Spar Over Michelangelo’s Masterpiece ‘David’

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ROME (AP).- Florence’s mayor is defending his city’s ownership of Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece “David” after the Culture Ministry reportedly asserted that the treasure belongs to the central government in Rome. The Renaissance-style feud broke out over the weekend with reports that Rome was laying claim to the sculpture, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy. Michelangelo completed the 4.34-meter (14 foot)-high nude statue in Florence in 1504, and its home has been the city’s Galleria dell’Accademia for more than 100 years. Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi said the statue, along with other treasures, was ceded to the city of Florence by a decree in 1870 or 1871 when Rome became the capital of newly formed modern Italy. “David is ours,” Renzi told La Repubblica over the weekend in an interview broadcast on its website. “That’s what the documents say.” Lawyers commissioned by the culture ministry in Rome, however, argue that Florence