Two American tourists have apologized for vandalizing the Colosseum after being accused of marking the ancient Roman site and snapping a photo.

According to reports, the Californians — both in their 20s — scraped a “J” and an “N” into stone over the weekend, an image that was later captured on camera by Italian media.

Police questioned the women before citing them for “aggravated damage to a building of historic or artistic interest,” Italian state news agency ANSA reported, according to Reuters, which added:

The women were not identified in the reports, and it was not immediately clear whether they would have to pay a fine.

La Stampa reported that the women said they regretted their decision, but didn’t “imagine it was something so serious.”

“We’ll remember for a lifetime,” their apology continued, according to a translation of the Italian newspaper report.


So, this is certainly not the best tourist behavior, but it’s also not unheard of. Here’s a quick look at similar cases of tourists behaving badly across the globe.


Just leave things as you found them, guys.

The Colosseum: Part II

This isn’t the first time the Colosseum has been vandalized, of course. This isn’t even the first time in the past year. A few months ago, in November, a Russian tourist was fined after slicing a “K” onto a wall at the site. (See the “K” here.)

“The damage to the monument is notable,” historic site superintendent Mariarosaria Barbera told an Italian news service.

And that guy was just the latest in a string of recent Colosseum vandals.

Out of six million annual visitors, five have been stopped by police this year for scrawling on the amphitheatre. An Australian and his son were caught, as well as a teenager from Brazil and another from Canada. The minors escaped being fined because of their age.

Easter Island

In 2008, the mayor of Easter Island called for the ear of a Finnish tourist, who had been accused of damaging a statue on the island during an attempt to recover a souvenir. (See the vandalism here.)

Marko Kulju apologized for the action, saying he was sorry — “particularly to the residents of Easter Island.” He paid a fine and said he wouldn’t to come back for years, according to reports.


“If an ear is cut off, then an ear gets cut,” Mayor Edmunds Paoa said in a radio interview after the incident, according to the Independent. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth: That would be my form of justice.”

Egypt’s Luxor Temple

In 2013, the parents of a Chinese teenager apologized for his act of vandalism at an ancient temple in Egypt, telling reporters that their son eventually came to understand the gravity of his actions.


The teenager etched “Ding Jinhao was here” into the Luxor Temple, and a photo of it later spread online. It didn’t take long for the Internet to track down the person responsible, and his family spoke out.

“We want to apologize to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China,” Ding’s mother said in Modern Express, a local newspaper.
Ding has realized the seriousness of his misconduct, according to his mother.
His father said they felt regretful after news about the case was spread online.


Taking pieces from Stonehenge is also not okay, although apparently officials used to be pretty cool with it.

In 2008, however, someone reportedly used tools to knock away a small piece from one of the stones. Authorities believed the culprits were after souvenirs.


“Damaging an ancient monument is a serious [offense] and we take this type of damage extremely seriously,” a police spokesman told the BBC at the time. “We are determined to identify the offenders and bring them to justice. As this is a tourist area we would also be interested in anyone who may have taken photographs of this incident.”