Tourists carve names into Rome’s Colosseum

Americans take a selfie before police grab them
Tourists are in trouble again in Italy for defacing Rome’s Colosseum. After five tourists were caught in the act during 2014, now two Californian women aged 21 and 25 crept away from their tour group to start scratching their initials into the ancient amphitheatre with a coin.
The women etched a “J” and an “N” some 8cm high and took a selfie before police caught them. They are now likely to face a stiff penalty.
At the end of 2014, a 42-year-old Russian tourist carved a 25cm letter into the Colosseum. He was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a €20,000 fine, which he has not been able to pay yet. Other tourists caught damaging the Colosseum last year came from Australia, Brazil and Canada.
There are signs against vandalising the walls in English and Italian, but a tiny minority of visitors appear willing to break the rules. This may be because they see the crumbling monument differently from sites like the Vatican.
“There’s a difference in perception,” a spokesman for the Special Superintendency of the Archaeological Heritage of Rome said. “Museums are treated like churches, sacred places where there are things of great value, whereas the Colosseum is an incomplete building which has already been robbed.”
After its heyday of gladiator fights, the Colosseum fell into ruin and was at one point quarried for its stone. The amphitheatre dates from AD80, but the section defaced this week was rebuilt in the 1800s.
“It’s not an original wall but it is nevertheless antique,” the spokesman said.
The Guardian