Rome: Tourist appears to carve name into Colosseum
A Swiss teenager has infuriated Italians, after being caught allegedly carving her name into the walls of Rome’s Colosseum.
The 17-year-old is visiting the Italian capital with her family and was filmed on Friday apparently vandalising the World Heritage Site.
According to Italian media reports, the young woman reportedly carved an “N” into one of the brick columns of the almost 2,000-year-old amphitheatre.
The incident was captured on camera by a local tour guide David Battaglino, who immediately alerted security.
Mr Battaglino said people shouted at the teenager to stop what she was doing, but she simply shrugged and walked off.
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He told the media outlet Repubblica Roma that he had seen dozens of people defacing the historic monument over the last six years.
The tour guide added that he had witnessed people ripping off parts of the Colosseum’s wall and was even spat at when he tried to scold a boy for vandalism.
When the parents were approached by Mr Battaglino, they allegedly made a “gesture of annoyance”.
Undeterred, the tour guide took a photo of the family and informed a security guard, who called the police.
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The parents and their daughter were taken by officers for questioning at the police station in Rome’s Piazza Venezia, according to local media.
The teenager could be forced to pay a fine of up to £12,900 (15,000 euros) or could face two to five years in prison.
Her parents defended their daughter’s actions and said: “She’s just a little girl, she wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
The incident comes after Italian police identified a man from England as the suspected culprit behind an inscription carved into a wall of the Colosseum in late June.
Officers have not named the suspect, but the inscription “Ivan + Hayley 23” provided them with a good clue.
Ivan, wearing a blue flowery shirt, was filmed by a member of the public committing his act of vandalism.
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The video was then loaded up to Youtube under the title “Asshole tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome” and was widely shared on social media.
In the footage, someone can be heard saying: “Serious, man? F***** up, man. Stupid a*******.”
According to reports in the Italian press, Ivan is a fitness instructor who lives in Bristol. Police will reportedly send a note to the suspect’s home address, informing him that he is under investigation.
Italy’s culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, described the Ivan’s actions as “unworthy and a sign of great incivility”.
Many others have also defaced the historic amphitheatre where early Christians were brutally fed to the lions.
In September 2020, a 32-year-old man from Ireland was allegedly caught using a metal point to carve his initials into a pillar on the first level of the monument.
He was arrested and charged with damaging a historical landmark. In 2015, two American tourists were accused of carving their initials into the Colosseum.
The women, from California, scratched the letters J and N with a coin, local newspaper Il Messaggero reported.
Afterwards the pair, reported to be 21 and 25, took a selfie. They were briefly held by Rome’s police and questioned.
The year before, a Russian tourist was fined for engraving the letter K into the Colosseum.
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