Eight lions, which have guarded the Christopher Columbus monument since 1888, need special care. Restorers came to this conclusion after analysing the condition of the bronze predators. The reasons do not only relate to humidity or sea-gull droppings; tourists are also to blame – few travellers, after conquering La Rambla, manage to avoid the temptation of patting their noses or even of being photographed upon their mighty backs. This leads to faded paint and rust. “People climb the lions, so their original surfaces are damaged. This continuous and systematic activity could ruin the statues,” points out restorer Alex Barbera. The local authorities are not planning to limit access to one of the most popular sights in Barcelona, but they are considering improved maintenance. Specialists will re-seal the joints, apply anti-corrosion agents and renew the thinning surfaces.