Moment 17-year-old Swiss girl is caught ‘carving her initial into Colosseum wall’ – after Bristol gym instructor faced police probe when he was caught scrawling name onto ancient monument
- Girl who is visiting Rome with her family was caught on camera on Friday, July 14
- She carved ‘N’ into a brick column and was filmed doing so by Italian tour guide
A 17-year-old Swiss girl is the latest tourist enraging Italians by carving into walls of the ancient Colosseum.
The girl from Switzerland is visiting Rome with her family and has been caught carving her initial into the popular sight on Friday, July 14, according to Italian media reports.
She reportedly carved an ‘N’ into one of the brick columns of the 1,937-year-old building and was filmed doing so by Italian tour guide David Battaglino, who quickly alerted the security personnel at the amphitheatre.
Battaglino said people were shouting at the girl and once she realised she had enraged others, she shrugged and walked off with a grimace.
He told Repubblica Roma: ‘It is the first time I have managed to film an act of vandalism at the Colosseum but in six years I have seen dozens, there are also those who rip off parts of the wall. They even spat on me once for scolding a boy.’
The girl from Switzerland is visiting Rome with her family and has been caught carving her initial into the popular sight on Friday, July 14, according to Italian media reports
She reportedly carved an ‘N’ into one of the brick columns of the 1,937-year-old building and was filmed doing so by Italian tour guide David Battaglino, who quickly alerted the security personnel at the amphitheatre. Battaglino said people were shouting at the girl and once she realised she had enraged others, she shrugged and walked off with a grimace
The tour guide was leading his tourist group through the sight when one of them pointed the girl out. He approached her and asked her in English whether she wanted a round of applause for what she had done.
Battaglino ended up approaching the girl’s parents, telling them what their daughter had done was illegal, but they allegedly blew him off with a ‘gesture of annoyance’.
He took a photo of the family and approached one of the security guards, who later called the police. When confronted, the parents reportedly said: ‘She’s just a little girl, she wasn’t doing anything wrong.’
The girl and her parents were then taken to the police headquarters in Rome’s Piazza Venezia for questioning, local media reports.
The girl’s act of vandalism could be punished with a fine of up to £12,900 (15,000 euros) or two to five years in prison.
This comes just weeks after a man was caught carving his and his girlfriend’s name into the ancient monument.
This comes just weeks after a man was caught carving his and his girlfriend’s name into the ancient monument (pictured)
A bystander filmed the tourist as carved the name into the stone walls of the 1,937-year-old building using a set of keys. According to the English-speaking man who recorded the footage, the incident happened last Friday, on June 23
Ivan Dimitrov, 27, who also goes by the name Ivan Hawkins, was caught on camera by American holidaymaker Ryan Lutz as he carved the words, ‘Ivan and Hayley 23’ into the brickwork with a set of keys on June 23.
Bulgarian-born Ivan was in Rome with his long-term girlfriend Hayley Bracey, 33, last weekend and officials were left furious at the wanton vandalism and vowed to track the culprit down.
READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Gym instructor filmed carving ‘Ivan and Hayley’ into Colosseum wall says he ‘didn’t know it was old’ in letter of apology – but Rome officials dismiss his ‘nonsense’
MailOnline has established that Ivan who is originally from Lovech, works as a fitness coach in Bristol but also has a job as a delivery driver.
Hayley is thought to run her own sports nutrition business and the pair live together in the suburb of Keynsham not far from the Longwell Green gym where Ivan coaches.
The couple who live in Bristol – were in the Italian capital Rome as part of a three week European tour – and were located in Bulgaria on Friday by police after they were identified through CCTV footage and hotel records.
Major Roberto Martina, of the carabinieri paramilitary police, told MailOnline: ‘Colleagues have spoken with the man and he has expressed his apologies and sincere remorse for what he did.
‘He had contacted us after we secured his mobile telephone from hotel records and left a message for him to call us. He was naturally worried about the legal implications, and these were all explained to him.
‘We told him that a report would be sent to his address in the UK and then the matter would proceed to a trial, probably early next year and he would be able to apologise in person there to the court.
‘We didn’t ask him why he did it, that will be for a judge to hear, we just told him that he was a suspect and was part of the investigation. The girl is not part of any complaint so is an innocent party as far as we are concerned although technically, she could be seen as an accessory.
‘But again, that will be for the prosecutor to decide once we have finished our enquires which shouldn’t take too long as the main evidence is the original video of the incident.
‘He told us he was very upset by what he had done, and he kept apologising for it, I think he was worried about the consequences of any trial and we explained that he could be jailed for between two and five years and be fined up to 15,000 Euro.’
It appears he carved ‘Ivan + Hayley 23’ into the Colosseum walls
Ivan Dimitrov (left) was in Rome with his long-term girlfriend Hayley Bracey (right) when he carved ‘Ivan & Hayley 23’ into the 2,000 year old Colosseum in the Italian capital
In what officials have described as a ‘surreal’ letter to the mayor of Rome, police and the authorities at the Colosseum, Dimitrov has apologised for what he did, revealing his ignorance in the process.
He wrote: ‘Aware of the seriousness of the committed act, with these lines, I wish to address my most heartfelt and honest apologies to the Italians and to the whole world for the damage caused to an asset which, in fact, is the heritage of all humanity.
‘I admit with profound embarrassment that only after what regretfully happened did I learn of the antiquity of the monument.
‘The council with dedication, care and sacrifice guards the inestimable historical and artistic value of the Colosseum.’
But one official at Rome city council said: ‘What nonsense and what a surreal letter. What level of education does this man have not to know the significance of the Colosseum?
‘It’s just an attempt to pacify – and if he was so concerned why take almost two weeks to write? Why didn’t he apologise sooner? He must have known what he did as it was all over the world’s media.
‘We intend to pursue this through the judicial system along with the authorities at the Colosseum and hope to see an appropriate punishment when it comes to court.’
The incident is still being investigated by Italian police.
In the video, the English-speaking man filming the footage said to the other: ‘Are you serious man? That is f***ed up man. Stupid a******e.’ Other users were quick to comment, sharing their outrage and speculating that ‘Hayley’ was the man’s girlfriend
This is not the first time tourists have been fined for vandalising what is believed to be the world’s largest amphitheatre.
In 2020, an Irish tourist was arrested for allegedly carving his initials into the Colosseum.
The Carabinieri police said a 32-year-old man was caught by the Colosseum’s private security and immediately reported to officers.
In 2015, two American tourists were arrested for carving initials into the Colosseum. Before they were spotted, the women, 21 and 25, were able to carve a J and an N into a brick wall on the first floor of the west side of the Colosseum
The man’s two initials, about 2in high, were said to have been carved with a metal point on a pillar of the first floor in September 2020.
The unnamed man was accused of damaging a historical and artistic landmark.
Fines start at £1750 (€2,065), while a sentence could be as much as one year in prison.
Archaeologist Federica Rinaldi, responsible for the ancient Roman amphitheater, said people who carve their initials into the monument want to ‘appropriate’ it.
She added: ‘The Colosseum, like any monument that represents the history of all of us, must be preserved and handed over to future generations.’
The Colosseum, considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world, is a World Heritage Site.
This is along with 54 other Italian sites which comprise the city’s historic centre.
In January 2017, the Colosseum was vandalised with black spray paint, officials have said.
The name ‘Balto’ and the word ‘Morte’ (death) were sprayed onto the pillar overnight.
In 2014, a Russian tourist was fined £17,000 (€20,000) for carving the letter ‘K’ on a section of brickwork
In January 2017, the Colosseum was vandalised with black spray paint, officials have said
Two Brazilian men who attempted to climb over a gate into the Colosseum on the same day were apprehended by the authorities when they fell 13 feet (four metres), one fracturing his hip bone.
CCTV was studied to see if they were responsible for the the graffiti.
Francesco Prosperetti, special superintendent for the Colosseum, said: ‘We worry that this could become a game and people could start competing over it.’
READ MORE: Vandals target the Colosseum: Exclusion zone could be set up after words are daubed on one of its pillars
In 2015, two American tourists were arrested for carving initials into the Colosseum.
Before they were spotted, the women, 21 and 25, were able to carve a J and an N into a brick wall on the first floor of the west side of the Colosseum.
After carving the 8in-high letters, the women posed together for a selfie.
The women, just two of six million tourists that flock to the Colosseum every year, used a coin to engrave the letters, La Stampa reported.
They are said to have broken away from their tour group – but other tourists saw what had happened and alerted security.
Police charged the women with ‘aggravated damage on building of historical and artistic interest’, according to Repubblica.
After they were caught, the women apologised to Piazza Dante police and Captain Lorenzo Iacobone.
They said: ‘We apologise for what we did. We regret it but we did not imagine it was something so serious. We’ll remember for a lifetime.’
According to The Guardian, the section damaged dates back to the 1800s – a key period of restoration.
A spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome is quoted as saying: ‘It’s not an original wall but it’s nevertheless antique.’
In 2014, a Russian tourist was fined £17,000 (20,000€) for carving the letter ‘K’ on a section of brickwork.
Construction on the Colosseum began sometime between 70 and 72CE and seated around 50,000 spectators.
They came to watch gladiators in combat with each other and dangerous animals, including lions.
Other tourists have repeatedly caused chaos in Rome, like in 2018, when two British tourists stripped and posed for photos in a fountain at one of Rome‘s most famous monuments.
One of the Britons can be seen removing his underwear as the two men frolicked in the water at the foot of Altare della Patria in the Italian capital.
Others filmed as the men laughed and jokingly flexed their muscles in front of bemused tourists.
Their antics were captured on camera by a tour guide at the landmark – a monument to war dead that was originally built in honour of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the unified Italy.
One of the Britons can be seen removing his underwear as the two men frolicked in the water at the foot of Altare della Patria in the Italian capital
Other tourists have repeatedly caused chaos in Rome, like in 2018, when two British tourists stripped and posed for photos in a fountain at one of Rome ‘s most famous monuments
In the footage, two men – reported as being British by local media – are seen posing for photos in the fountain wearing only their briefs.
Several people position themselves by the wall, dipping their feet into the water and taking photos.
One of the men then pulls his underwear down and hides his genitals between his legs to pose naked for photos. Numerous visitors walk past the Britons as they continued to misbehave.
The footage caused outrage on social media. One Italian wrote online: ‘English sons of b*****s, always playing up and attention-seeking.’
Local media said at the time that this was yet another assault on Italy’s heritage.
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