Following its credit rating downgrade, the Italian government has voted to sell off a number of national treasures, in order to reduce the nation's budget deficit.
In an emotional and at times heated debate in the Italian parliament building in Rome, a proposal to sell off a number of national treasures was passed by the house in a narrowly won victory.
Among the treasures to be sold off are Rome's Trevi Fountain and Bernini's Four Rivers fountain in Piazza Navona. Negotiations are also under way with Vatican officials to auction off Michelangelo's La Pieta, the iconic statue of the Blessed Virgin cradling the crucified body of Jesus, carved from a single slab of marble.
Michelangelo's David is also being considered for sale, along with Botticelli's Venus, the Leaning Tower Of Pisa, the Shroud of Turin, and Florence's famous and historic Ponte Vecchio.
"This decision is a travesty!" Arts Minister Salvatore Bergamo raged. Do they not realise that once these treasures leave Italia, they will never be returned? We will never see them again. They will be lost forever."
"It is regrettable, but we have no choice in the matter," Emile Camorristo, representative for Napoli shrugged. "Business is business. What can you do? We're currently in talks with the Dismay organisation regarding the purchase of the Colosseum. They want to ship it to the states brick by brick and turn it into a water park. Okay, it will leave a huge hole in the centre of Rome, but on the plus side, it'll give the kids in Florida hours and hours of splash related fun. So it isn't all doom and gloom. I think my colleagues need to lighten up a little. This is just a load of old stuff that we don't really need any more."
More as we get it.