The Colosseum Vandalism Continues

The Colosseum Vandalism Continues As Swiss Teen Carves Her Name, Making This the Second Case in One Month.

Jul 19, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Colosseum
The Colosseum. Via Wikipedia


The Colosseum vandalism continues as yet another tourist carves its name on the walls of the historical building. Last month, a man scratched the walls with his keys – he wanted to carve his name, and his girlfriend’s. “Ivan + Hayley ‘23” it said. A similar event occurred on Friday, when a Swiss teenager carved her name. Italian police did not identify all three of them. But, they could face serious legal prosecution.


The Colosseum Vandal Apologises Through Letter

ancient rome colosseum
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, completed 72 AD, via National Geographic


As tourists vandalised an important archaeological monument, they could face paying ($16,850) and up to five years in jail. Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano suggested trial for the cases and proper sanctions. He also said this is “an act that offended everyone across the globe who appreciates the value of archaeology, monuments, and history”. If cases go to trial, the ministry will appear as a plaintiff.


Bristol-based fitness instructor Ivan Dimitrov, 27, wrote a letter of apology to Italians, as he heard the charges. “I admit with the deepest embarrassment that only after what regrettably happened, I learned of the antiquity of the monument. Through these lines, I would like to address my heartfelt and honest apologies to the Italians, also to the whole world for the damage caused to an asset which is the heritage of all humanity”.


colosseum flavian amphitheatre kieren
The façade of the Colosseum in Rome, photograph by the author


As we can see, this is not an isolated case. Something similar happened in 2020, when security personnel apparently discovered an Irish traveller scratching his name into the historic building. The security reported the tourist to the police. Now, there is also a Swiss teenager committing the same act, and a 17-year-old student from Germany who did something similar.

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A New Bill With New Fines for Vandalism

roman colosseum
The Roman Colosseum, 70-80 AD, via University of Nebraska News


The identity of a Swiss teenager is not publicly known. As we learn, she was on vacation with her parents at the time of the act. The tourist guide noticed her and immediately informed the security of the historical building. Immediately after that, the security guard informed the Italian police officers. “I consider it serious, unworthy and a sign of great incivility that a tourist defaces one of the most famous places in the world, a historical heritage (site) such as the Colosseum”, the ministry said.


He also expressed the hope that anyone who committed this act will be identified and prosecuted. In April, Sangiuliano declared that the Council of Ministers, the nation’s executive branch of administration, adopted a bill, which allows the government to levy fines for people who damage works of art and cultural institutions. The fines start at approximately $11,221 and increase as high as about $67,328.


Construction on the Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum (Italy), began Link Herethe reign of Vespasian
Construction on the Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum (Italy), began Link Herethe reign of Vespasian


“Attacks on monuments and art sites produce economic damage to the community. Cleaning up requires the intervention of highly specialized personnel and the use of very expensive machinery. Those who carry out these acts must also assume financial responsibility”, he said at the time.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.