- Associated Press - Monday, August 16, 2010

MILAN (AP) - The Italian cities of Rome and Florence are enmeshed in a Renaissance-style feud over who owns Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece “David.”

The Florence mayor has defended his city’s ownership of the towering nude depiction of “David” after the Culture Ministry reportedly asserted that the treasure belongs to the central government in Rome.

Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi said this weekend that the statue, along with other treasures, was ceded to the city of Florence by a decree in 1870 or 1871 when the capital was transferred to Rome.

Lawyers commissioned by Rome, however, argue that Florence cannot own “David” because it has over the centuries passed from sovereign state to sovereign state, starting with the Principate of the Medici.