I recently had the pleasure to visit the Colosseum in Rome, one of the truly most incredible sights for all of humanity. (The photographs are from that visit). An unnamed Russian tourist was arrested and fined roughly $25,000 over the weekend for carving a 10-inch letter “K” into the Colosseum. Frankly, while this is a large fine, it is not enough in my view. The intentional damage to such a priceless structure warrants jail time in addition to the fine and, above all, the world should know the name of the man who would do such a despicable act.
We have discussed stupid acts, including by Americans, where art has been damaged by accident. However like the graffiti by the Chinese tourist, on the Luxor temple, this was an intentional act of thoughtless destruction. This was also not a stupid teenager but a 42 year old man.
The Russian used a rock to carve out the letter. A tourist called over the police and the tourist was charged with causing “aggravated damage to one of Italy’s most iconic symbols.” He was give a four-month suspended prison sentence and fined 20,000 euros– a little over $24,800. It is the suspended sentence that was the mistake.
This is the fifth case reported case of vandalism to the Colosseum this year and future felons should have their vacations extended in a Roman jail.
What is a more positive note is that over 6 million people visit the Colosseum each year but only a handful of truly disgraceful human beings damage the structure.
It is almost enough to make one long for Roman emperor Domitian and a bit of old-fashioned Roman justice on the sands of the Colosseum.