Climate activists have smeared paint on the façade of Florence's famous Palazzo Vecchio. The action in the central Italian city on Friday morning lasted only a few minutes, according to the responsible group "Ultima Generazione" ("Last Generation"). Two of its members sprayed orange and washable paint on the entrance façade of the medieval building using fire extinguishers.

Twitter videos show what happened next: Two security forces run to stop the activists in their plans. From the left, a man in a brown leather jacket also comes running into the picture, jumps over a hedge and energetically pulls one of the activists away from the wall. "Stop it! What, damn it, are you doing?" he yells.

The man in the brown leather jacket is Dario Nardella, mayor of the city of Florence. The fact that he was on site during the action is more of a coincidence. The head of the city was apparently in the process of recording a video in Piazza della Signoria in front of Palazzo Vecchio. On the clip published by the Italian Telegram news channel "" on Twitter, Nardella can be seen raving about the piazza – until he suddenly turns around and runs off as if stung by the tarantula.

"An attack on art, culture and beauty"

Afterwards, the visibly angry mayor took part in the plastering work and climbed, among other things, on a scaffolding to remove the paint with a brush and a high-pressure cleaner. "These are barbarians. That's not how you protest," said the politician.

After the action, he tweeted that the act was an "attack on art, culture and beauty", which were defenseless against such attacks. Even the most comprehensible thing could not justify such an action.

The "Ultima Generazione" defended itself on Twitter against the criticism. It is better to be labelled as vandals than to "passively accept the decisions of governments that do not look beyond the 5 years of their mandate and sign day after day the condemnation of the younger generations". According to the group, the action was directed against the climate policy of the Italian government, which in their view does too little for climate protection and misses important decisions in the fight against climate change. The palace is still the same after the paint attack, but "those who inhabit it today have lost the vision of responsibility for the future of their community," it said in a statement.

The Palazzo Vecchio is one of the most important buildings of the Tuscan city of Florence. The palace was built in the 14th century and originally served as the seat of the Florentine city parliament. In the 19th century, it was also the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies for several years. Today, the building houses the Town Hall, the Children's Museum of Florence (Museo dei Ragazzi) and the magnificent Hall of the Five Hundred.