ROME — A small town perched on a hill in Tuscany will soon erect a statue of President Donald Trump — in its Park of Honor and Dishonor.
The statue was commissioned by Mario Puglia, the mayor of Vagli di Sotto, a small town of about 1,000 residents approximately 50 miles northwest of Florence.
"In our park we have statues of honorable and dishonorable people," Puglia said.
He said the current collection includes Fabrizio Quattrocchi, an Italian security officer kidnapped and killed in Iraq who is seen as a hero by many Italians, and Francesco Schettino, the disgraced captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia who abandoned ship when the boat ran into a rock, leaving 32 dead. Also commemorated is Diesel, a police dog killed during a counter-terror raid in Paris in 2015.
"Donald Trump will be the centerpiece of the park," said Puglia. "I chose him because, whatever you think of him, he is now the most powerful man in the world and has kept his campaign promises, and you can't say that of many politicians."
Puglia told an Italian newspaper that it will be up to history to decide whether Trump merits honor or dishonor. One way or the other, the mayor hopes the unusual park will attract tourists to the area.
The statue will be eight feet tall (15 including the pedestal) and will be carved into a big block of Calacatta di Vagli, a highly-prized white marble found in the area.
"We already dug out the block of marble, which itself costs $140,000," Puglia said. "All in all the statue will cost $250,000, which has already been offered by donors in Italy and the U.S., who want to remain anonymous."
The statue should be ready by June this year, and the mayor has big plans for its unveiling.
"I would like to invite the Marines, and we will raise a big American flag," Puglia said. "Because Trump aside, we feel a sense of gratitude toward the Americans. They liberated us at the end of the Second World War, and many American soldiers died around here."