Tourists Suspected Of Adding Their Initials To Walls Of Rome’s Colosseum, Taking A Selfie

What is it about a 2,000-year-old famous structure that makes tourists think it isn’t yet complete without their initials joining the blood, sweat and tears of gladiators past on the walls? After a Russian tourist was fined $25,000 for carving his initial in the wall of Rome’s Colosseum last fall, two American visitors have been accused of leaving their initials behind — and of course, taking a selfie to capture the moment of vandalism.

The two Californians, ages 21 and 25, are suspected of defacing a wall by carving a “J” and an “N” into a wall with a coin, reports The Guardian, after sneaking away from their tour group. They then reportedly took a selfie (#defacingancientruinsiskewl? #tbt?).

Police managed to nab the twosome and report them for damaging the ruins. They could face a penalty if they go before a judge.

For those who need reminding that graffiti on ancient buildings is banned, there are signs posted in both English and Italian warning visitors — so why would anyone blatantly disregard such a ban or get it into their heads that it’s okay?

There seems to be a kind of disconnect for some tourists, a spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome told The Guardian.

“There’s a difference in perception. 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,” the spokesman said.

He’s referring to restoration work done on the Colosseum, which fell into disrepair after it was no longer trendy to put humans into a pit with lions while 73,000 people watched. The piece of the wall that was carved up by the American tourists was put in place in the 1800s during restoration work.

“It’s not an original wall but it’s nevertheless antique,” the spokesman said.

Here’s a good rule: Wherever you’re visiting, if it’s not yours and you haven’t been told to touch it — don’t touch it. And not touching it means, no carving your name anywhere, because no one cares that you were there ruining things for everyone else.

Previously in consumers behaving badly in treasured places: Feds Searching For Graffiti Artist Vandalizing National Parks And Leaving An Instagram Handle Behind

US tourists caught carving names into Rome’s Colosseum [The Guardian]

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