‘Unknown’ people spray painted the base of the statue over the weekend. The police are checking cameras to see if they can figure out who did it. The mayor decried the action, saying he hoped it was just a “silly stunt”. The Archdiocese condemned the act, calling it ‘blasphemy’.
St. Petronio is the patron saint of Bologna, considered the protector of the city. Bologna doesn’t sound like it would be a particular attractant to radical attack, but terrorists tried to blow up the nearby Basilica on two prior occasions, in 2002 and 2006. Why? There is a fresco, painted by Giovanni da Modena, which depicts Muhammad in Hell being devoured by demons.