A Russian citizen has been fined €20,000 for carving his initial into Rome’s Colosseum, the Guardian reports.
The 42-year-old tourist had picked up a rock and carved a letter “K” of around 25 cm into a wall, when he was spotted by a guard and subsequently arrested by police. He got a €20,000 fine and a four-month suspended prison sentence.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA , the graffiti is located on the ground floor of the 2,000 year-old structure, near an area where restoration works are taking place. The Colosseum is currently going through a €25 million refurbishment, funded by the luxury group Tod’s (see “Luxury Brands Fund Restoration of Italy’s Monuments”).
“You cannot write on a historic wall, it’s absolutely forbidden,” said director of the Colosseum Rossella Rea, justifying the whopping €20,000 fine, which will surely make people think twice before misbehaving.
In response to rumors saying that visitors are assaulting the iconic Roman monument en masse, Rea argued that, out of the six million annual visitors to the Colosseum, only five have been stopped by police this year for scrawling on its walls. These include an Australian citizen and his son, a teenager from Brazil, and another from Canada.
According to the Guardian, ancient Romans were also quite prone to carving, although in their case they depicted arena scenes and famous gladiators. Some graffiti are now preserved and displayed at the Colosseum, but—contrary to the rudimentary initial carved last week— they are “beautiful designs, which are historic and very important,” Rea explained.
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