English-speaking tourist carves name on wall at Colosseum, risks prosecution
A young English-speaking tourist sparked widespread condemnation after a video of him using keys to engrave “Ivan + Hayley 23” into the wall of the Colosseum in Rome on Friday afternoon was uploaded to YouTube.
The clip, entitled “Asshole tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome”, caught the attention of scores of netizens, eventually getting widely shared across social media and alerting police to the incident. The man is yet to be officially identified.
Nevertheless, there are strong suspicions the culprit is called Ivan. If caught and convicted, he could face a fine of at least €15,000 and an imprisonment sentence of up to five years. The police in Italy are currently on a hunt for the tourist.
“Really Makes Me Angry”
Condemning the incident, Italy’s Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said he hoped the person will be “identified and sanctioned according to our laws.” Meanwhile, the tourism minister – Daniela Santanche, called for the country’s history and culture to be respected.
The culprit also drew strong criticism from fellow tourists. It’s understandable that some tourists want to leave their mark, but things should be preserved the way they are, La Presse quoted a tourist as saying. Another one said the incident “really makes me angry.”
Is It Just A “Lack Of Education”?
It isn’t the first time the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre has been defaced. A 32-year-old man was arrested for allegedly carving his initials into a pillar in September 2020, and just a month later, a German girl, 14, was allegedly caught doing the same thing.
According to Alfonsina Russo, the director of the Colosseum, a “lack of education” was apparently identified among people who are caught committing such acts. Anyone who writes on monuments hasn’t been educated about cultural heritage,” she added.