Michelangelo's "David" has seen better days. He's spent centuries on his feet. He's tired, yet he cannot take a seat.
Now some are wondering whether engineering work that's taking place beneath him might cause the Renaissance icon to quite simply collapse with exhaustion.
The Telegraph reports that construction of a high-speed railway being built beneath Florence might cause one vibration too many for David.
The paper quotes Fernando de Simone, a specialist in subterranean engineering, as saying: "The tunnel will pass about 600 meters (2,000 feet) from the statue of David, the ankles of which, it is well known, are riddled with microfissures. If it's not moved before digging begins, there is a serious risk that it will collapse."
"David" is, apparently, not made of stern stuff. The marble used by Michelangelo was not of the finest quality. Moreover, the 17-foot-high "David" has been at something of an angle for quite a while, putting additional pressure on his left side.
An Italian art critic, Vittorio Sgarbi, reportedly believes that the rail project should simply be diverted elsewhere, which shows an interesting and cultured sense of priorities.
However, for now authorities seem to be content merely to monitor the effects of the engineering work.
Florence has had its fair share of smaller earthquakes, and thus far "David" seems to have withstood everything. But perhaps it might be better to find him a more peaceful home in his old age.
Perhaps the Italians could move him somewhere to the south of Italy, where the tourist economy certainly needs boosting, as does its image--given that many see it as a place in which nefarious activities abound.
One can only hope that a sensible solution is reached before, one difficult night, someone has to pick up the pieces.