Anger in Italy as another tourist caught carving initials into Rome’s Colosseum

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Anger in Italy as another tourist caught carving initials into Rome’s Colosseum
A group of tourists passes a wall carved with names inside Rome’s Colosseum. Graffiti and vandalism by visitors is a regular occurrence at the ancient site. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

A 17-year-old German tourist was reportedly the latest to be caught defacing the Colosseum in Rome on Saturday, following a spate of acts of vandalism at the ancient site this summer.


The German boy was caught on surveillance cameras and reported to police for allegedly damaging brickwork on the Unesco Heritage Site's ground floor.

He could now face criminal charges alongside other tourists who have been reported to police for defacing the ancient structure in recent weeks.

Just one day earlier, on Friday, a Swiss teenager was filmed carving the letter ‘N’ into the wall of the monument.

The 17-year-old, on holiday with her parents, was spotted defacing the inner wall by an Italian tour guide who reported her to Colosseum staff and the police.

READ ALSO: What punishments do tourists face if they damage Italian monuments?

"It's the first time I've managed to film an act of vandalism at the Colosseum but in six years I've seen dozens of them, as well as those also who detach parts of the wall,” the tour guide told newspaper La Repubblica.

The tourist has not been named, but the tour guide’s video clip was shared online by Italian news agency Ansa.

The video appears to show the teenager, whose face has been blurred, using an object to carve into the historic structure's brick walls.

The tour guide said that, when he informed the teenager's parents that what she had done was illegal, they said: "She's just a little girl, she wasn't doing anything wrong.”

The family were taken to police headquarters in Rome's Piazza Venezia, La Repubblica reported.


The incident comes less than a month after another tourist made headlines worldwide when a viral video showed him carving "Ivan+Hayley 23” into a wall at the Colosseum.

The man, identified as a 27-year-old Bulgarian fitness coach living in the UK, was tracked down by police and could now be charged.

He begged for forgiveness in a letter to Rome's mayor, in which he offered his "most heartfelt apologies to Italians and to the whole world" - and claimed he didn’t realise the 1st century AD monument was ancient.

Anyone found guilty of causing damage to a site of historical and artistic interest in Italy can face a fine of up to €15,000 and even a prison sentence of up to five years.

And these penalties may soon become harsher, as ministers in April approved plans to increase the maximum fines for defacing cultural property to €40,000, while anyone damaging or destroying monuments could be fined up to €60,000.


Potential prison sentences would also increase to a maximum of seven years under the plans.

Every summer, Italian media is filled with reports of tourists vandalising or even stealing pieces of the Colosseum and other ancient monuments in Italy.

Meanwhile, countless people every year face fines of hundreds of euros after taking a dip Rome's fountains, which is strictly prohibited - no matter how hot the weather gets.


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Kris 2023/07/18 10:30
" police and could now be charged." Therein lies the problem, "could" be charged, there should be no if and buts, it should be "will be charged". As long as Italy doesn't start fining people a massive amount of money for defacing monuments, they will always have a problem with these idiots.

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