Italians reacted with fury after a man was filmed carving his and his girlfriend’s names on the wall of the Colosseum in capital Rome, triggering a police investigation.
An English-speaking man was taped by a bystander carving his and his girlfriend’s name with a key on the wall of the nearly 2000-year-old monument.
The man can be seen scratching ‘Ivan + Hayley 23’ into one of the bricks last Friday, according to the video’s time stamp.
The suspect, who is yet to be identified, then turned around and grinned at the bystander who said: “Are you serious, man?”
Italy’s culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano on Monday shared the video, calling it a “very serious, unworthy and a sign of great incivility that a tourist defaces one of the most famous places in the world, the Colosseum, to engrave the name of his fiancee”.
“I hope that whoever did this will be identified and sanctioned according to our laws,” he added.
If convicted, the man could reportedly face a fine of at least €15,000 (£12,866) along with up to a year of jail time.
Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum, said the Carabinieri police were tracking down the suspected and “we will see if we can get him”.
“When you get uneducated people at the Colosseum this kind of hooliganism happens and I hope there are no copycats,” she told the Daily Mail.
The Carabinieri paramilitary police in Rome said the department has been intimated of the incident and officers are looking to identify the culprit. “And when he is caught, he will be punished.”
Italians on Twitter criticised the tourist, calling it “absolutely despicable behaviour”.
“Americans always think they have ownership over everything they set foot on,” wrote one user.
However, this isn’t the first time that tourists have been fined for defacing the Unesco World Heritage Site.
In 2020, an Irish tourist was accused of vandalism of the Colosseum after security staff spotted him allegedly carving his initials into the ancient structure.