Tourist arrested for vandalising Rome's Colosseum with an ancient coin

By Gavin Haines

Rome's Colosseum seems to be a magnet for vandals, who often pay a heavy price. Photo / 123RF
Rome's Colosseum seems to be a magnet for vandals, who often pay a heavy price. Photo / 123RF

A French woman has been arrested for reportedly trying to carve her name into Rome's Colosseum.

According to local media, the 45-year-old woman faces charges for "aggravated damage to a building of historical and artistic interest" after attempting to carve "Sabrina 2017" into the ancient monument.

Italian media said the woman, a traffic warden, was visiting the landmark amphitheatre with her daughter and two young nephews. She reportedly carved her name using an "ancient coin", which was confiscated when she went into custody.

One tourist was charged €20,000 for trying to carve their initials into the monument. Photo / 123RF
One tourist was charged €20,000 for trying to carve their initials into the monument. Photo / 123RF

Judges in Rome take a dim view of people defacing the city's ancient monuments and the French woman is likely to pay a heavy price for her folly: last year a Russian tourist was fined €20,000 ($29,500) for trying to carve their initials into the Colosseum. An expensive day out by anyone's standards.

If found guilty the woman could also face up to five years behind bars thanks to a bill passed in December, which introduced a specific offence for defacing or damaging cultural heritage.

According to Italian media, 20 people have been charged for vandalising the Colosseum in the last three years and a further ten have been accused of trespassing on the landmark.

The Colosseum, where Roman gladiators once took part in gruesome battles, underwent a €25 million ($36.9 million) restoration last year, which was largely funded by the Italian fashion brand Tod.

The cash-strapped Eternal City has increasingly been turning to private investors - often luxury fashion brands - to help fund the restoration of popular landmarks.

The Italian fashion house, Bulgari, recently put up €1.5 million ($2.2 million) to help restore the famous Spanish Steps, while Rome-based Fendi helped sponsor renovation work at the Trevi Fountain.

This article originally appeared on the Daily Telegraph.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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