Up on Pincian Hill, a 19th century park, vandalism is commonplace. In May and June of 2014, 13 of the park's 230 busts had their noses broken and four were uprooted and thrown to the ground. In the past, vandals have even attacked Michaelangelo's Pietà stature with hammers and paint. I personally saw graffiti carved into the walls in the Vatican Museum's Raphael rooms. And in 2011, part of an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome 2,000 years ago was covered in graffiti.
Using a coin, they scratched (carved is too refined a word for this) a J and an N into a brick wall on the first floor of the west side of the Colosseum. Six million tourists that flock to the Colosseum every year, most of which are fairly well behaved and respectful.
Police charged the women with 'aggravated damage on building of historical and artistic interest'. After they were caught, the women apologized to Piazza Dante police and Captain Lorenzo Iacobone. They said: 'We apologize for what we did. We regret it but we did not imagine it was something so serious. 'We'll remember for a lifetime.' Yea, sure. These shallow gals had no clue of the value or historic significance of what they were supposedly there to look at, to ponder, to admire.
This is my main complaint about the flood of tourists in Rome and the lack of true interest, sensitivity or knowledge in what they are putting on their "must see" lists of tourist spots to hit. Three hours of tourists waiting online to view the beauty of what the Vatican Museum holds... and they are just shoved through so no one at all can take any decent amount of time to admire the masterpieces, the way they should. There is a total lack of sensitivity. This is why people shout and pickpocket and shove in a holy place like St. Peters or the Pantheon. Most don't even know before they go to the Pantheon that it's a practicing Catholic Church!
But despite the closed circuit cameras and vigilant custodians, there are still people from every corner of the globe who attempt to leave a mark. In recent years an Australian and his son were caught, as well as a teenager from Brazil and another from Canada. Because of Italian laws protecting minors, teens escape being fined because of their age. Many other Roman monuments are under attack too. In 2011 police caught an American tourist scaling a wall of the Colosseum to chip off pieces of marble.
Construction of the Colosseum began in 70 A.D. under the Roman Emperor Vespasian and was opened in 80 AD under his son Titus. Don't you think it should stand intact for another 2000 years? But Rome is not one building or a single statue. The entire city should be treated with the same respect and dignity as any true lover of art and history would do.
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