If you’ve visited the Colosseum in Rome you’ll know its a phenomenal site, the rich history and splendour of which is matched only by an abundance of hideous graffiti left by the millions of tourists who pass through it each year, not unlike the one pictured above. 

If you haven’t visited the Colosseum and you’re planning an upcoming European sojourn, here’s a helpful and timely tip: don’t carve your fucking name into the Colosseum. 

Despite an abundance of signage warning against vandalism, two American women were caught carving their names into the Colosseum over the weekend and today it’s all anyone can talk about. It’s a fable for the horrors of tourism in the digital age, I guess. The Guardian reports:

The Californians, aged 21 and 25, snuck away from their tour group on Saturday and began scratching their initials into the amphitheatre with a coin. They managed a “J” and an “N” around 8cm high, before taking a selfie with their handiwork. Police were quick to catch the two Americans and report them for damaging the ancient site. The women may now go in front of a judge and face a penalty.

A spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome attributed their act of wanton desecration to “a difference in perception. 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.” I attribute it to ‘idiots’.

The incident follows a similar one that took place only three months ago, when a 42-year-old Russian tourist who should know better was caught carving a 25cm letter into the site. He was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a yet to be paid fine of €20,000. 

Let this be your final warning and, again, a friendly reminder: don’t carve your fucking name into the Colosseum, FFS.

via The Guardian

Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images