An eternal reminder of their visit to one of Rome's most iconic monuments or reckless vandalism?
Whatever the intention of the two tourists caught carving their names into a pillar of Rome’s most prized monument, the 2,000-year-old Colosseum, on Tuesday, authorities were less than impressed.
The tourists, identified as a 25-year-old Dutch man and a 26-year-old German woman, were stopped by vigilant staff at the Amphitheatre who then alerted police, La Repubblica reported.
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is the largest amphitheatre in the world. It attracts around four million visitors a year.
Reckless tourists defacing Italy’s priceless monuments have become something of an occupational hazard for authorities.
In January, staff at the Colosseum were outraged after catching an Australian man and his son – aged 45 and 12 – scrawling their names on the iconic monument in an attempt to leave their mark. In March, a Canadian teenager also got into trouble with police after she was caught trying to steal a brick from the Colosseum, stashed away in her backpack.
Also in March, a statue in Milan's celebrated Brera Academy was found without a leg, with the damage thought to be the handiwork of a foreign student trying to take a photograph of himself with the "Drunk Satyr" sculpture.
The father was later charged with vandalism and his son was reported to the public prosecutor of the juvenile court for "contaminating a property of historical interest".
Last year a number of fines were handed out for similar offences, including a German child who wrote their name on Florence's Ponte Vecchio, and an American who snapped the finger off a 600-year-old statue in a museum in Florence.