Italy’s Colosseum in Rome may have withstood hundreds of years for tourists to appreciate its ruins.
But as a Russian visitor must have realized, it pays a lot to carve a remembrance into its walls.
A Colosseum worker on Friday spotted the 42-year-old Russian tourist scratching a large letter “K,” 25 centimeters high (10 inches), and smaller letters of “Ketreia” beside it using a stone to do so.
The offending visitor was fined 20,000 euros (25,000 US dollars) for the damage, and given a suspended sentence of four years in prison. It is hoped the penalty will deter future vandals after a number of incidents this year at the world-famous ancient site, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists.
Sonia Lanzelotti, one of a team of restorers who work daily to maintain the site, used reddish-yellow stucco to cover up the scratching. She used a small brush and tiny sponge to gently pat down the wall.
Union leader have complained about lack of staff to monitor Rome’s archaeological treasures as evidenced by visitors seeking to leave their mark and cause serious damage.
The walls around the edge of the Colosseum are covered with engraved names that were made by visitors when the Colosseum was left open.
Construction of the Colosseum began in 70 A.D. under the Roman Emperor Vespasian and was opened in 80 AD under his son Titus.