Whitchurch High School in Cardiff could face a lifetime ban from Italy and an eye-watering fine after pupils grabbed at a religious monument which gave way and crumbled when it hit the floor.
The base of the ornamental cabinet, known as the Canto alla Paglia, is decorated with an image of the Madonna and Child and dates back to more than 500 years.
Italian news website La Nazione said a group of British tourists climbed onto the ledge of the monument when a toy parachute got caught on it.
A 15-year-old boy climbed onto another pupil’s shoulders and onto the tabernacle which then gave way under his weight.
Another pupil was taken to hospital where he was treated for minor injuries after being hit by the ledge.
The incident has angered locals in the world-renowned city, with one blogger demanding the culprits be banned from Italy for life.
Pictures from the scene show a cordon around the monument with the Renaissance painting inside undamaged.
The Italian Polizia Municipale confirmed damage to the monument had been caused by pupils from the Design and Technology department at the school, which may have to pay damages after the case is brought before a judge.
The boy was quizzed by police for damaging pubic property. A spokesman from Whitchurch High School said: “Whitchurch High School is extremely disappointed that the behaviour of a very small number of its students has not lived up to the high standards expected.
“An investigation is currently underway and we are speaking to the staff and students that went on the trip.”
Pictures of the children enjoying Florence before the incident are on the school’s Twitter page.
The school’s alumni include footballer Gareth Bale, rugby star Sam Warburton and professional racing cyclist Geraint Thomas