A tourist caught carving names on to an inner wall of Rome’s ancient Colosseum claims he did not know how old the monument was.
A Tourist from England
Ivan Dimitrov, who lives in Bristol, is currently under investigation for damaging a cultural heritage site. If convicted, he might have to pay up to 15,000 euros, or face time in prison.
The 27-year-old fitness instructor has penned a letter of apology to the Rome mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, after he allegedly carved “Ivan + Hayley 23” into the ancient monument with a key. Now, his and his girlfriend’s names are allegedly etched into the 2000-year-old Colosseum. Romantic?
An angry bystander filmed the incident and uploaded it to YouTube. The incident was filmed back in June, and caused widespread condemnation, with Italy’s culture minister reportedly calling it “offensive to everyone around the world”.
Man writes his name on an ancient structure that was used to force slaves, criminals, & POWs to murder each other for entertainment.
Italy is outraged that a man could commit such atrocities.https://t.co/VIEcvyMsxb
— Cartdriver (@carteradams68) June 27, 2023
Apologies to the world
Dimitrov’s apology letter explains how he only now realises the “seriousness” of the situation. “Through these lines I would like to address my 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,” he added in the letter. Italian newspaper, Il Messaggero reportedly published the letter this week.
A lawyer representing Dimitrov rold Il Messaggero that he hopes the letter will help the 27-year-old avoid the harshest sentence. His girlfriend, Hayley, is currently not under investigation. However, Italian media reports that she could be an accessory to the incident.
Not sure if I’m more shocked by this tourist’s vandalism or his lack of foresight in shortening the year to “23”, given the context of the carving.
Tourist carves name in Colosseum walll: https://t.co/COpxUj35hq
— George Moore (@georgemoore) June 28, 2023
The Colosseum is one of the most notable symbols of Imperial Rome, and is Italy’s most popular tourist site. Alongside the Grand Canal in Venice, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This Roman amphitheatre was completed under Emperor Titus in AD80. This is the place where gladiators would famously (and viviously) fight each other – and wild animals – while thousands of spectators watched and cheered.
It is also a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site like Robben Island and Table Mountain.