British tourist caught carving names into Rome Colosseum says he 'didn't know it was old' as he issues grovelling apology

5 July 2023, 17:15 | Updated: 5 July 2023, 17:32

The tourist filmed carving 'Ivan + Hayley' into the brickwork of Italy's historic Colosseum lives in Britain
The tourist filmed carving 'Ivan + Hayley' into the brickwork of Italy's historic Colosseum lives in Britain. Picture: YouTube
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A British tourist who was caught carving graffiti into the brickwork of the Colosseum in Rome claims he didn't know how old the wall was in a grovelling apology letter.

A video emerged online showing Ivan Dimitrov, 27, carving his name into the wall, as well as Hayley, his girlfriend's name into the walls of Rome's ancient Colosseum, sparking fury.

Italian officials vowed to find the vandal and punish him for the offence, which has landed culprits hefty fines in the past.

Mr Dimitrov has since issued a grovelling apology, claiming ignorance, MailOnline reports.

He wrote: "Aware of the seriousness of the committed act, with these lines, I wish to address my most heartfelt and honest apologies to the Italians and to the whole world for the damage caused to an asset which, in fact, is the heritage of all humanity.

"I admit with profound embarrassment that only after what regretfully happened did I learn of the antiquity of the monument.

"The council with dedication, care and sacrifice guards the inestimable historical and artistic value of the Colosseum."

Asshole tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome 6-23-23

While Mr Dimitrov will have been hoping to put the matter to bed, his explanation has been dismissed as nonsense by authorities in Rome.

One official said: "What nonsense and what a surreal letter. What level of education does this man have not to know the significance of the Colosseum?

"It's just an attempt to pacify - and if he was so concerned why take almost two weeks to write? Why didn't he apologise sooner? He must have known what he did as it was all over the world's media.

"We intend to pursue this through the judicial system along with the authorities at the Colosseum and hope to see an appropriate punishment when it comes to court."

Read More: Tourist caught carving 'Ivan + Hayley' into the wall of Colosseum lives in Britain, Italian police say

The video, shot by an American tourist called Ryan Lutz at the iconic Italian landmark, sees Mr Dimitrov scrawling the names into the stonework of the 1,937-year-old building.

Clutching a set of keys, the man cracks a smirk at the camera before returning to the wall and continuing to inscribe the names.

The incident is believed to have taken place on Friday, June 23, according to the person filming the video.

At the time of its construction at around 70 CE, the Colosseum is thought to have seated 50,000 spectators.

Uploaded to YouTube on June 24 by user @rytz5873, the footage was later shared on Reddit with the caption 'A*****e tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome'.

Social media users commenting on the video called for the arrest of the culprit.

As part of the video, the English-speaking man capturing the footage can be heard saying: 'Are you serious man? That is f***ed up man. Stupid a*****e.'

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If reported to police, the individual could be fined £1750 (€2,065) and face up to one year in prison.

If reported to police, the individual could be fined £1750 (€2,065) and face up to one year in prison.
If reported to police, the individual could be fined £1750 (€2,065) and face up to one year in prison. Picture: YouTube

It was at least the fourth time this year that such graffiti was reported at the Colosseum, an act that carries fines of up to 15,000 US dollars and five years in prison.

An Irish tourist was arrested by the Carabinieri police force in September 2020 for allegedly carving his initials into the Colosseum in a similar incident.

Reported to police by the Colosseum's private security firm, the 32-year-old was caught inscribing his two initials into a pillar on the landmark's first floor.

Measuring about 2" high, the letters, inscribed using a metal point, saw the anonymous individual stand accused of damaging a historical and artistic landmark.

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