Cecilie Hollberg, director of the Galleria dell'Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David, told reporters, "When a city becomes a whore, it is difficult to become a virgin again." 

"Florence is a beautiful city and I wish it could be given back to its citizens instead of being trampled by tourists," Hollberg said. The German historian said the streets were filled with souvenir shops for tourists and he could not see any normal shops. 

Pablo Neruda's death to be reinvestigated Pablo Neruda's death to be reinvestigated

Stating that it is "too late" to take the necessary steps, Hollberg said he "sees no hope" if steps are not taken urgently to curb the number of tourists. 

The Galleria dell'Accademia later issued a statement in which Hollberg apologized for "the wrong choice of words". The gallery said Hollberg was trying to draw attention to "the need for conscious tourism". However, Italy's Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said the statement was "serious and offensive to

Florence" and that he would take all appropriate steps under the law.