12:53 GMT +319 August 2019
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    The Colosseum at dusk

    American Tourists Caught Defacing Rome's Colosseum, Then Taking Selfie

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    Two American women were caught defacing the Colosseum in Rome by carving their initials into the amphitheater. After etching eight-centimeter high letters – “J” and “N” – they took a selfie with their workmanship.

    The two women, who are 21 and 25 years of age, will now face a judge and, possibly, jail time and large fines. The two Californian women attempted to make their mark on the ruin just a little over three months after a Russian tourist was caught carving his own letter into the Colosseum. The 42-year-old received a four-month suspended jail sentence as well as a €20,000 fine (about $21,500).

    He was the fifth person to be stopped for the vandalising the Colosseum last year. The other culprits came from Australia, Brazil and Canada.

    Around 20 million visit the Colosseum each year. Budget and staffing cuts has made it increasingly difficult to catch vandals. Threats against Rome by ISIL led to increased security at the Colosseum but it is primarily centered on finding and stopping potential terrorists rather than stopping tourists from breaking rules.

    Signs posted in multiple languages prohibit such actions, some warning of possible consequences. 

    The Colosseum may be Rome’s most well-known icon. The 2,000 year old building served as an amphitheater for shows and the infamous gladiator battles in which Roman warriors fought to the death. Archaeologists estimate it sat up to 80,000 people. 

    The part of the wall impacted by the two women, however, only dated back to the 1800s when some of the iconic structure was restored. However, that fact won’t likely garner them much leniency. 

    Tags:
    Colosseum, Roman, ancient ruins, vandalism, Rome, Italy
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