Teenage girl caught carving her name into Rome Colosseum

Local tour guide caught the act of vandalism on camera

Helen Coffey
Monday 17 July 2023 10:28 BST
The Swiss teen was caught in the act
The Swiss teen was caught in the act (Twitter/@Agenzia_Ansa)

For the second time in less than a month, a tourist has been caught defacing one of Rome’s best-known historic attractions.

A Swiss teenager is the latest offender to start carving her name into the ancient amphitheatre.

The 17-year-old was caught in the act, with a local tour guide managing to video her scratching the letter N into the wall of the famous landmark.

“It is the first time I have managed to film an act of vandalism at the Colosseum but in six years I have seen dozens, there are also those who rip off parts of the wall,” David Battaglino told Repubblica Roma. “They even spat on me once for scolding a boy.”

After Mr Battaglino reported this most recent act of vandalism at the Unesco World Heritage Site, the teen and her parents are reportedly being questioned by police.

He alleged that the girl’s parents were blasé about her behaviour, saying: “she’s just a kid, she wasn’t doing anything wrong”.

They could face a fine of up to €15,000.

It comes just weeks after a man was caught vandalising the Colosseum at the end of June.

The tourist from the UK triggered widespread outrage by carving his girlfriend’s name into the ancient stone.

Ivan Dimitrov, who lives in Bristol, was filmed engraving his and Hayley Bracey’s initials into the 2,000-year-old structure.

Footage of the incident soon went viral before Italy’s Carabinieri tracked the pair down in Bulgaria, prompting Mr Dimitrov to beg for forgiveness.

In an apology letter published in Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper, addressed to the prosecutor’s office and Rome’s mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, Mr Dimitrov said he was not aware of the ancient monument’s age or the “seriousness of the deed committed”.

“Through these lines, I would like to address my heartfelt and honest apologies to the Italians and to the whole world for the damage caused to an asset which, in fact, is the heritage of all humanity,” he wrote.

“It is with deep embarrassment that only after what regrettably happened did I learn of the antiquity of the monument.”

Mr Dimitrov’s lawyer, Alexandro Maria Tirelli, told Il Messaggero that his client was “the prototype of the foreigner who frivolously believes that anything is allowed in Italy, even the type of act which in their own countries would be severely punished”.

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