as-yet-unidentified women, aged 21 and 25, were exploring the famous
landmark in Rome on Saturday when they broke off from their tour group
and, using a coin, scratched the letters “J” and “N” into the historic
amphitheater. They then took a photo of themselves next to the new
addition to the Coliseum’s walls. The letters measured around 8cm tall.
the Coliseum, a landmark that has stood for more than 2,000 years, is
forbidden, and there are English and Italian signs around the structure
alerting tourists to this fact.
The section that the tourists
defaced is part of a 19th-century papal restoration project, although
the section itself was completed in 80 AD.
Police quickly caught
the women after being alerted by other tourists. The defacers were fined
for “aggravated damage” and may have to appear before a judge for
“There’s a difference in perception,” a spokesman for
the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome
said. “Museums are treated like churches, sacred places where there are
things of great value. Whereas the Colosseum is an incomplete building
which has already been robbed.”
The women have shown regret and
apologized for their actions, saying that they would remember this
incident for the rest of their lives.
“We apologize for what we did,” the women said, according to Italian paper La Stampa. “We regret it, but we did not imagine it was something so serious.”
these women are ever allowed into another foreign country again, they
might consider carving their initials into a tree—preferably one not
part of a national landmark.
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