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Cultural vandalism: Dutch tourist accused of defacing ancient Roman villa

Cultural vandalism: Dutch tourist accused of defacing ancient Roman villa
Cultural vandalism: Dutch tourist accused of defacing ancient Roman villa Copyright Carabineiri Napoli - X
Copyright Carabineiri Napoli - X
By David Mouriquand
Published on
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The series of cultural vandalism incidents across Italy continues...

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A Dutch tourist has been accused of defacing a wall in an ancient Roman villa in Herculaneum, an ancient city that was buried under lava along with Pompeii in 79 AD. He has been charged with damage and defacement of artistic works. 

The 27-year-old man tagged the wall with his graffiti signature using a black marker, according to Italian police. 

Reports state that the tourist was apprehended shortly after staff at the archaeological site discovered the graffiti.  

“Any damage hurts our heritage, our beauty, and our identity, and that is why it must be punished with the utmost firmness,” Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said in a press release. 

The Dutch tourist, who was not named, faces a hefty fine if he is found guilty. Early this year, the Italian parliament increased the fine for damaging a monument from €15,000 to €40,000 euros.  

This is far from the first time that Italian historical monuments have been vandalised by tourists.  

Last year, a British man was filmed engraving his name and that of his girlfriend on the ancient Roman Colosseum. At the time, Sangiuliano stated: "This action offended all those around the world who appreciate the value of archaeology, monuments and history." Italian police also investigated a young Swiss woman on suspicion that she carved her initials on the wall of the historic landmark. 

Also last year, German tourists toppled a 150-year old statue in the northern Italian region of Lombardy while posing for a picture, and graffiti artists scaled and tagged the stone facade of Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

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