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Italy's Colosseum warns of jail time for tourists who deface landmark

Colosseum urges tourists to respect heritage.

The Colosseum archaeological park has published a notice on its website warning of prison sentences of up to five years and hefty fines for those who vandalise the monument.

The awareness campaign follows a spate of recent incidents in which tourists carved their names into the walls of the Colosseum, sparking widespread outrage in Italy and around the world.

The website warns against those who write on the walls or otherwise "damage, destroy, disperse or cause deterioration" to monuments in the archaeological park which includes the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Domus Aurea in addition to the Colosseum.

Calling for "respect" from visitors, the notice warns that offenders "shall be punished by imprisonment of two to five years and a fine ranging from €2,500 to €15,000", under Italian law.

In a recent interview with Rome daily newspaper Il Messaggero, the Parco archeologico del Colosseo director Alfonsina Russo slammed the "lack of civic education about heritage" of many tourists who are "primarily interested in taking selfies."

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