SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

US tourists fined €800 for breaking into Rome’s Colosseum to drink beer

A couple of US tourists who broke into Rome's Colosseum to enjoy a drink with a view have been hit with a hefty fine, police said.

A police car patrols outside the Colosseum in Rome.
Police were called to the Colosseum after the two American tourists were spotted by a passer-by. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The pair, aged 24 and 25, had climbed up to the second ring of the ancient gladiator arena at dawn on Monday, but were spotted by an early riser who alerted the police.

They admitted to having broken in “to drink a beer” in the early hours, and were given an 800 euro ($905) fine, a police spokesman told AFP, without providing any more details.

It was not clear how they had got into the 2,000-year-old structure, which closes to visitors at 4.30pm.

READ ALSO: Tourist lands in trouble after crashing drone inside Rome’s Colosseum

This was the latest in a long series of reports of tourists behaving badly at famous tourist sites in Rome.

Such incidents were more frequent before the pandemic, when the Colosseum was visited by around 25,000 people daily.

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.

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.

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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

SHOW COMMENTS