Home Travel Tips Tourist who vandalized Colosseum says he wasn’t aware it was ancient

Tourist who vandalized Colosseum says he wasn’t aware it was ancient

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The tourist who infuriated a nation when he was captured scratching a love note into the Colosseum has apologized, claiming — with embarrassment — that he didn’t understand the history of the Roman monument.

In a letter addressed to the city’s prosecutor and mayor, Ivan Danailov Dimitrov, 27, wrote that he was aware of the seriousness of his actions and apologized to the people of Italy and the entire world for causing the damage at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

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“By damaging the Colosseum, I acted with frivolousness, flippancy and incivility, to the detriment of other visitors,” he wrote in Italian in the letter, which was translated by The Washington Post. “I have no excuses.”

Dimitrov wrote that he would take responsibility for his actions and acknowledged the “inestimable artistic and historical importance” of the site.

“I am profoundly embarrassed to admit that it was only after this sad incident that I began to appreciate just how ancient this monument is,” he wrote.

A tourist carved his girlfriend’s name into the walls of Rome’s Colosseum on June 23, as seen in a viral video, drawing outrage from Italy’s culture minister. (Video: Reuters)

Dimitrov’s attorney, Alexandro Maria Tirelli, said in a message that he had already come up with a plea bargain request that would keep his client out of jail. He said that the prosecutor has agreed to no jail time, though the plea was still being negotiated.

Prosecutors and representatives for the Carabinieri, Italy’s national police, could not be reached Thursday afternoon. The Associated Press reported last week that authorities used photographs to identify the man as a visitor who lived in Britain.

Dimitrov’s face was visible in a video that went viral in late June, in which he used a key to write “Ivan + Hayley 23” on a wall. The American visitor who shot the video, Ryan Lutz, told NBC News that he was “flabbergasted” and informed security about the incident.

“I’d settle for this guy just kind of learning a lesson,” Lutz told the news outlet. “You don’t disrespect host countries.”

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Italian officials expressed their outrage online, with culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano tweeting that the act was “a sign of great incivility” and tourism minister Daniela Santanchè saying on Twitter that she hoped the tourist would face sanctions.

Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that the penalties for the damage could include up to five years in prison and a fine of more than $16,000.