Written by By Daniel Williams, CNN
Perhaps the Colosseum, on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, is a place of stony sentience, losing lovers and killing time. Or maybe it’s a place of hopelessness and despair, left to succumb to the seemingly endless trudge of Western Italy’s grim commuter rail links.
Either way, police are urging anyone passing through Rome’s prehistoric structure to keep their eyes out for tourists breaking into it to drink.
This is the latest in a series of incidents reported this week, including reports of two Americans behaving disrespectfully — leading police to detain and question them — and a group of French men who admitted to drinking beer but denied vandalism on the 950-year-old structure.
In the past, graffiti has been seen on the walls, as well as bars and restaurants on the outside of the Colosseum. Now more obvious attempts to commit illegal graffiti have caused concern.
Police officers photographed the illicit graffiti on Rome’s Colosseum. CNN
“We’ve had countless calls reporting minor cases of vandalism. There was no reason for it, but on occasion police come on the scene to find people dumping beer on the stones or trying to deface the place,” Rome’s Gazzetta del Sud reporter Andrea Frigo said.
“The only way you can stop such acts is to make it visible and to secure it.”
As tourists are expected to knock on the outside door, who was it who needed to knock first?
If you, a bunch of drunk Frenchmen or a bunch of young men sitting on a bench in an area of central Rome where you’d imagine the Colosseum would be found, surely you are all guilty of creating a public nuisance?
According to local tourism site LegnoImmagine, tourism minister Laura Boldrini says the culprits will be “dealt with in accordance with the law.” But with a fee of nearly €19 ($21) each entry to the Colosseum , there is little chance of a discount for anyone foolish enough to try to access the place without visiting a police station first.