Last Friday, two American tourists decided it would be ok to carve a memorable souvenir of their visit on the Colosseum's walls.
The two women from California, aged 21 and 25, were caught carving their initials on a second-floor western side brick wall of the Colosseum. Using a coin they scratched a “J” and an “N” around 8cm high, then took a selfie to record the moment.
A tour guide spotted the act of vandalism and called the police who took the two American in for questioning and reported them for damaging the ancient site. The women seemed to be repentant, police explained, and claimed they hadn't realized it was such a serious thing.
In spite of the many signs around the Colosseum, in both English and Italian, explaining that defacing the walls is strictly forbidden, last year, five people from Australia, Brazil, Canada and Russia were stopped for trying to write on the ancient monument's walls.
The most recent incident took place three months ago, when a Russian tourist was caught carving a 25cm letter and was given a four-month suspended prison sentence plus a €20,000 fine.