A 17-year-old Bulgarian student in Rome has been charged with aggravated damage to a building of historical and cultural interest after carving her initial into a wall of the Colosseum.
The student was visiting the monument on a school trip on 28 April when she engraved the letter “M”, the intital of her first name, on an interior wall of of the ancient amphitheatre.
She was seen by security staff who called police.
This was the latest in a long series of similar incidents, coming just days after an Israeli tourist was charged after she carved initials into an internal pillar at the world-famous monument.
While graffiti is the biggest problem at the Colosseum, there have also been numerous cases of visitors attempting to steal bricks and other fragments of the building as souvenirs.
Workers cleaning graffiti from the Colosseum. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
And in 2017, two Brazilian tourists injured themselves while attempting to break into the Colosseum at night.
In the past, judges have come down hard on Colosseum vandals, with one Russian tourist fined €20,000 for carving a giant 'K' into one of the building's pillars last year.
A bill approved in 2016 introduced the specific offence of defacing or damaging cultural heritage or landscapes, and increased the penalty to a maximum of five years' imprisonment.
The ancient Colosseum, once the scene of grisly Roman gladiator games, is not the only attraction that suffers damage from tourists in the city.
Last year, Rome brought in a raft of strict new laws aimed at tackling the unruly behaviour of tourists, including a ban on street drinking,and eating near or climbing on fountains in the Eternal City.