Here we go again...
Less than a month after a 27-year-old British tourist defaced the Colosseum in Rome by carving his and his girlfriend's initials into the ancient monument, Italian police are now investigating a young Swiss woman on suspicion that she also carved her initials on the wall of the historic landmark.
The probe into the act of vandalism was launched after an Italian guide filmed the 17-year-old woman engraving the letter "N" on a wall of the Colosseum. The news was first reported by local media outlet ADN Kronos.
A clip of the incident was shared by Italian news agency ANSA on Twitter.
"New disfigurement at the Colosseum, a Swiss tourist engraves her initials: she risks prison and a maximum fine. She was filmed by a guide and reported."
The girl and her parents were then taken to the police headquarters in Rome's Piazza Venezia for questioning, local media reports.
The Swiss tourist, who has not been identified by name, could face a fine of up to €15,000 for damaging cultural property. Like the British tourist a few weeks ago, she could face up to five years in prison.
These penalties are part of the Italian government's clampdown on vandalism.
In April, the Italian government approved proposed legislation championed by the culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano that would impose fines starting at €10,000 and as high as €60,000 for those who vandalise artworks or cultural sites.
“The attacks on monuments and artistic sites produce economic damage to all,'' the minister said in a statement. ”To clean it up, the intervention of highly specialized personnel and the use of very costly machines are needed,'' he said. “Whoever carries out these acts must assume also the financial responsibility.”
This recent incident comes just a matter of weeks after a British tourist Ivan Dimitrov went viral after footage of him seemingly etching names into the walls of the Colosseum.
Dimitrov has since written a letter of apology to Roberto Gualtieri, the Mayor of Rome. Alongside his grovelling letter, the Bristol resident stated he was unaware of its history and age. An official at Rome city council responded: “What nonsense and what a surreal letter. What level of education does this man have not to know the significance of the Colosseum?”