Swiss teen filmed defacing Rome’s ancient Colosseum weeks after British tourist caught engraving names on wall

Just weeks after a British tourist was caught on camera defacing the ancient Colosseum in Rome, Italy, a Swiss teen is facing a possible fine for doing the same thing. 

Italian police have launched an investigation after a video surfaced of a teenage girl from Switzerland carving the letter “N” into a wall of the nearly 2,000-year-old structure, as was first reported by local media outlet ADN Kronos. 

Visitors walk past the Colosseum, in Rome, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. (AP)

A video of the incident was shared by ANSA, an Italian news agency. In the video, the girl is seen with her face blurred out as a crowd is heard clapping off-camera. 

The man filming, tour guide David Battaglino, told Italian newspaper La Republica that he had been showing a group around when someone directed his attention to the girl. 

“After a few seconds my group applauded me. To her, in English, I said, ‘Do you want applause?’ The young girl understood that she had ended up in the crosshairs of those who protect art and turned away to go toward her family,” Battaglino said. 


When he relayed to the girl’s parents what their daughter had done, they reportedly told him: “She’s just a little girl, she wasn’t doing anything wrong.” 

The girl and her parents were later taken to police headquarters for questioning. 

The incident comes just weeks after a British tourist, 31-year-old Danailov Dimitrov, was caught defacing the ancient building in a video. A viral video showed Dimitrov carving a wall with the name of his fiancée: “Ivan+Haley 23.” 

Man seen carving names into a wall of Rome's colosseum

A man was caught on camera carving names into a wall of Rome’s colosseum. (Gennaro Sangiuliano)

Italian newspaper Il Messaggero later published an apology from Dimitrov to “Italians and the entire world for the damage to a monument, which is, in fact, heritage of all humanity.” 

The wall that Dimitrov vandalized was not technically ancient, as it was built in the mid-19th century as part of restoration efforts. But the video still caused outrage in Italy, where ancient buildings have been the target of vandalism for years.

According to ANSA, it marked the fourth time this year that graffiti was reported at the Colosseum.  Dimitrov could face $15,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.


The Colosseum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to 72 AD. It was completed in 80 AD under Roman emperor Titus. 

Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano and Louis Casiano contributed to this report. 


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