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Teenage Tourist Investigated for Defacing Rome’s Colosseum

In a distressing incident of vandalism, a Swiss teenager is now under investigation for defacing the renowned Colosseum in Rome. The 17-year-old tourist, whose identity remains undisclosed, was caught on camera carving the letter “N” into the nearly 2,000-year-old Roman monument. The Italian media outlet ADN Kronos reported the incident, and the video clip was shared on Twitter by the Italian news agency ANSA. 

The footage portrays a blonde teenager, her face blurred, using an object to engrave the letter onto the Colosseum’s brick-faced concrete. As onlookers began to applaud, she quickly retreated. ANSA’s translated tweet revealed the gravity of the situation: “New disfigurement at the Colosseum, a Swiss tourist engraved her initials: she risks prison and a maximum fine. She was filmed by a guide and reported.”

The local tour guide, David Bataglino, who captured the incident on his phone, revealed that he was leading a group around the Colosseum when someone alerted him to the teenager’s actions. Despite continuing his narration, Battaglino managed to film the defacement discreetly. He later confronted the teenager’s parents, explaining the illegality of their daughter’s actions. Their response, as reported by La Republica, was that she was “just a little girl” and had done nothing wrong. 

As a consequence, the teenager and her parents were taken to police headquarters in Rome’s Piazza Venezia. The Polizia di Stato and Italy’s Ministry of Culture have yet to provide an official statement on the matter. Battaglino noted that this was the first time he had captured an act of vandalism at the Colosseum, although he had witnessed similar incidents in the past, including an unpleasant encounter where he was spat at. 

This case shared similarities with a previous viral story involving a 27-year-old British fitness instructor who carved “Ivan+Haley 23” into the Colosseum using a key. The British tourist faced potential fines of up to $16,000 and five years in prison. Later, he expressed remorse in an apology letter published in Rome’s II Messaggero newspaper, admitting his ignorance regarding the monument’s age and the severity of his actions. 

2 comments

  1. She gets what she deserves. Next time don’t be stupid and respect the historical building and the countries rules. And 14 years old isn’t “a little girl”

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