Tourist punished for damaging ancient Roman wall


Italy is home to countless ancient Roman ruins and pieces of history, but they are not immune to destruction these days. In the latest case of visitor vandalism, a remnant of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius was defaced by a Dutch tourist just outside Naples.

Herculaneum, like its bigger brother Pompeii, was covered in ash and lava when the volcano erupted almost 2,000 years ago. According to local police, a 27-year-old visitor “signed” the walls of an old house in the city that survived the eruption with a black permanent marker on a wall with white frescoes. Authorities quickly identified the suspect after he left his behind graffiti signature.

“Any damage damages our heritage, our beauty and our identity and therefore it must be punished with the utmost determination,” Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said in a statement. Reuters. The unnamed tourist is charged with damage and mutilation of artistic works for his actions.

Related: Tourists wanted for defacing historic Italian site with football slogans

It is the latest example in the last year of tourist vandalism in Italy. Last June, a man from Britain was caught on camera carving out his and his girlfriend’s names in the Colosseum in Rome with a wrench. And in August, graffiti artists defaced Milan’s famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade.

If you’re planning on traveling to Italy this summer and making your mark on a piece of history, you better be prepared to pay. In January, the country introduced tougher penalties for those who damage monuments and cultural sites. Doing so could result in a fine of up to €40,000 (approximately $43,500).

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