Last week, a tourist was filmed carving names into the wall of Rome’s ancient Colosseum. He has been identified as a fitness trainer living in Britain, as reported by The Independent. The identification process was conducted by comparing images, the Italian police said.
The man wrote on one of the walls of the monument, using a key, the first names of the couple plus the year they were there, ‘Ivan + Hayley 23’. The episode was recorded on video, after another passing tourist recorded what was happening. According to The Guardian, the video was then posted on YouTube and eventually caught the attention of the Italian police who began a search for the man. The video, which went viral on Youtube, is titled: “Asshole tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome.”
It was an act that offended all those who appreciate the value of archaeology.Gennaro Sangiuliano, Italian Minister of Culture
The act was recorded by another U.S. tourist, Californian Ryan Lutz who told the Associated Press that he had just finished a guided tour when he saw the person “shamelessly writing his name” on the Colosseum wall. “As you can see in the video, I walk up to him and ask him, perplexed, ‘Are you serious, are you really serious,'” he recalled. “All he could do was smile at me.”
According to Lutz, he tried to warn a watchman and his supervisor, but they stood idly by, even though he pointed them to the perpetrator and showed them the video. He decided to post it the next day on social media.
Those who cause damage will pay.Gennaro Sangiuliano, Italian Minister of Culture
A few days later, the Daily Telegraph reported that the man had been identified as Ivan Dimitrov, a 27-year-old fitness instructor and delivery driver from Bulgaria. He currently lives in Bristol. If convicted, the tourist would have to pay a fine of at least 15,000 euros and face a prison sentence of up to five years.
Gennaro Sangiuliano, Italian Minister of Culture, has spoken out about this act that he considered uncivilized and absurd. “It was an act that offended all those who, throughout the world, appreciate the value of archaeology, monuments and history. Now I hope that justice will follow its course, rigorously applying the laws.”
The vandalized wall is a restoration made in the nineteenth century, but even if it is not the original, “that does not change the fact that it is vandalism,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum in Rome, as quoted by New York Times.
A Russian tourist was fined €20,000 in 2014 for engraving a “K” on a wall at the site, according to The Independent. The individual was given a suspended four-year jail sentence.