Tourist who carved names on Colosseum writes letter of apology. Pictured Colosseum

Tourist who carved names on Colosseum says did not know its age

By Region Central Italy Culture News

A tourist from England who carved names on Colosseum says he did not realise the age of the monument. Ivan Dimitrov, from Bristol, apologises to Rome mayor in letter printed in Il Messagero.

Ivan Dimitrov is a 27-year-old fitness instructor living in Bristol. He wrote a letter apologising to the Rome mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, after allegedly engraving his and his girlfriend’s names into a wall of the Colosseum with a key. Dimitrov says he was ‘embarrassed’ to learn of amphitheatre’s antiquity.

Italian police traced Dimitrov back to Britain after five days.

In his letter to the mayor, Dimitrov says he only now realises “the seriousness of the deed committed”.

“Through these lines I would like to address my 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,” he added in the letter published in Il Messaggero today.

Dimitrov was allegedly filmed by an onlooker scratching “Ivan + Hayley 23” into the wall of the monument. The video of the scene, titled “Asshole tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome”, was uploaded on to YouTube. It was then shared across social media, thereby alerting police to the incident.

As a result, Dimitrov faces a fine of between €2,500 and €15,000 and possible prison term of two to five years.  In his letter, he also said, “It is with deep embarrassment that only after what regrettably happened did I learn of the antiquity of the monument.”

How old is the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is almost 2,000 years old. The Roman amphitheatre was completed under the reign of Emperor Titus in AD80. It was used as the venue for gladiatorial fights watched by thousands of spectators.

The Colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheatre in the world.

Construction started in 72AD under the emperor Vespasian, who reigned from 69–79 AD. It was completed in 80AD under his successor Titus who reigned for only 2 years from 79–81AD.

Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (r. 81–96). As the three emperors were part of the Flavian dynasty, the amphitheatre was named the Flavian Amphitheatre during ancient times.

There are more than 20 Roman amphitheatres in Italy. These include ones in Verona, Pompeii, Syracuse and Florence.

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