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CRIME

US tourists fined €800 for breaking into Rome’s Colosseum to drink beer

A couple of US tourists who broke into Rome's Colosseum to enjoy a drink with a view have been hit with a hefty fine, police said.

A police car patrols outside the Colosseum in Rome.
Police were called to the Colosseum after the two American tourists were spotted by a passer-by. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The pair, aged 24 and 25, had climbed up to the second ring of the ancient gladiator arena at dawn on Monday, but were spotted by an early riser who alerted the police.

They admitted to having broken in “to drink a beer” in the early hours, and were given an 800 euro ($905) fine, a police spokesman told AFP, without providing any more details.

It was not clear how they had got into the 2,000-year-old structure, which closes to visitors at 4.30pm.

READ ALSO: Tourist lands in trouble after crashing drone inside Rome’s Colosseum

This was the latest in a long series of reports of tourists behaving badly at famous tourist sites in Rome.

Such incidents were more frequent before the pandemic, when the Colosseum was visited by around 25,000 people daily.

In 2017, two Brazilian tourists injured themselves while attempting to break into the Colosseum at night.

In the past, judges have come down hard on Colosseum vandals, with one Russian tourist fined €20,000 for carving a giant ‘K’ into one of the building’s pillars.

A bill approved in 2016 introduced the specific offence of defacing or damaging cultural heritage or landscapes, and increased the penalty to a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.

While graffiti is the biggest problem at the Colosseum, there have also been numerous cases of visitors attempting to steal bricks and other fragments of the building as souvenirs.

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CRIME

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.

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