Tourist accused of vandalising Colosseum in Rome could face trial and up to five years in prison

If taken to trial, the suspect could be jailed for between two to five years and fined up to €15,000 (£12,850), police have warned

Rachel Flynn
Saturday 01 July 2023 17:04 BST
Tourist carves his name into Colosseum in Rome

A UK-based tourist accused of carving his and his girlfriend’s names into a wall of the Colosseum in Rome could face trial and up to five years in prison.

Ivan Dimitrov, 27, who is from Bulgaria but lives with his girlfriend in Bristol, is accused of marking “Ivan + Hayley 23” with a key into a wall of the historic building.

Footage of the incident was uploaded to YouTube by Californian tourist Ryan Lutz. The video, titled “A*****e tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome 6-23-23”, has received over 300,000 views.

The moment the incident at the ancient Colosseum in Italy was caught on camera

Italian police officer Major Roberto Martina explained that he had since spoken to the man after he was tracked down in Bulgaria during his European holiday.

“We explained that he could be jailed for between two and five years and be fined up to 15,000 euro,” Major Martina told the Mail Online. “He [Mr Dimitrov] told us he was very upset by what he had done, and he kept apologising for it. I think he was worried about the consequences of any trial.”

A report of the investigation will be sent to Mr Dimitrov’s home address in the UK before any potential trial proceeds, the website reported.

“We didn’t ask him why he did it, that will be for the judge to hear, we just told him that he was a suspect and part of the investigation,” Major Martina added.

Fitness trainer Mr Dimitrov and his girlfriend were said to be holidaying in Rome on a three-week European tour when the incident took place.

The Italian culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, said the act “offended those around the world who appreciate the value of archaeology, monuments and history”, and thanked the police for identifying the alleged suspect.

The minister said the government was considering a law that would impose stringent punishment on those found guilty of defacing or damaging the country’s historical and cultural heritage sites.

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