Swiss teen filmed defacing Rome’s ancient Colosseum
after a British tourist was caught on camera doing the same thing.
It was first reported by local media outlet ADN Kronos that Italian police are investigating after a video showed a Swiss teen carving the letter “N” into the nearly 2,000-year-old structure.
ANSA, an Italian news agency, shared a video of the incident. She is seen in the video with her face blurred out while a crowd claps off-camera.
David Battaglino, the tour guide filming, told Italian newspaper La Republica that he saw the girl while showing a group around.
“After a few seconds, my group applauded me. I asked her, in English, ‘Do you want applause?’ The young girl understood she was in the crosshairs of those who protect art and turned back to go back to her family,” Battaglino said.
The parents of the girl told him: “She’s just a little girl, she wasn’t doing anything wrong.” when he told them what their daughter had done.
Later, the girl and her parents were questioned at police headquarters.
The incident occurs just weeks after a British tourist, 31-year-old Danailov Dimitrov, was caught on video defacing the ancient building. In a viral video, Dimitrov carved the name of his fiancée on a wall: “Ivan+Haley 23.”
The Italian newspaper Il Messaggero later published Dimitrov’s apology to “Italians and to the world for the damage done to a monument which is, in fact, the heritage of all humanity.”
Dimitrov vandalized a wall that was built in the mid-19th century as part of restoration efforts. Even so, the video still caused outrage in Italy, where ancient buildings have been vandalized for decades.
In total, graffiti has been reported at the Colosseum four times this year, according to ANSA. If convicted, Dimitrov could be fined $15,000 and imprisoned for five years.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Colosseum dates back to 72 AD. In 80 AD, it was completed by Titus the Roman emperor.