Two American tourists from California have been arrested for carving their initials onto the Colosseum in Rome.
Before they were caught, the women, 21 and 25, were able to carve two eight-inch high letters — a J and an N — onto a brick wall on the first floor of the west side of the Colosseum. They then posed together for a selfie.
The women reportedly broke away from their tour group, but other tourists saw what they did and alerted security. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. The writing on the wall of the Colosseum recovered by the Police (image source: ANSA).
The women, just two of six million tourists that visit the Colosseum every year, engraved the letters with a coin, according to La Stampa.
The Italian police have charged the women with “aggravated damage on building of historical and artistic interest”, La Repubblica reported.
After they were caught, the tourists apologized to Piazza Dante police and Captain Lorenzo Iacobone. They said:
We apologize for what we did. We regret it but we did not imagine it was something so serious.
We’ll remember for a lifetime.
The Guardian reports that the section damaged by the tourists dates back to the 1800s, which was a key period of restoration.
2. La Repubblica’s tweet of the defacing. It reads: “Colosseum, an incident with initials on the monument: reportedly two American tourists.
— la Repubblica (@repubblicait) March 7, 2015
3. Two tourists from the United States were caught engraving their initials on the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
A spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome is quoted as saying:
It’s not an original wall but it’s nevertheless antique.
With about six million tourists coming to the Colosseum every year and ever-increasing staff cuts, policing one of the most famous sights from antiquity has become a major problem. As a result, many stones bear engravings of tourists leaving their mark.
This latest incident comes just over three months after a Russian tourist was arrested carving a ten-inch letter into the Colosseum. The 42-year-old visitor was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a Γé¼20,000 ($21,700) fine, though he has not paid the penalty.
He was reportedly the fifth tourist seen defacing the Colosseum last year. A father and son from Australia and teenagers from Brazil and Canada were also arrested in 2014.
4. The women were charged with ‘aggravated damage on a building of historical and artistic interest’ on Saturday.
5. Discover Rome’s Colosseum by drone (related).
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