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Tourist who defaced Colosseum 'unaware' the site was ancient

Italian police tracked down tourist who vandalised Colosseum.

The tourist who carved his name and that of his girlfriend into a wall at the Colosseum, sparking outrage in Italy and around the world, has written a letter of apology to the city of Rome.

The man, identified by British media as a 27-year-old Bulgarian fitness instructor living in the UK - was tracked down by Italian police within days of vandalising the Rome landmark on 23 June.

Viral footage of the incident showed the man smiling as he used a key to carve "Ivan+Hayley 23” into an inner wall of the ancient amphitheatre during a holiday in Rome with his girlfriend.

The man's actions were slammed by Italy's culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano as "uncivilised and absurd" and he now risks a fine of €15,000 and a jail term of up to five years.

The repentant tourist has since written a letter of apology - reports Rome newspaper Il Messaggero - addressed to the capital's mayor Roberto Gualtieri and the prosecutor's office.

In the letter, excerpts of which were published in Italian, the man begs forgiveness for the "seriousness" of his actions and offers his "most heartfelt and honest apologies to the Italians and to the whole world for the damage caused to a site which, in fact, is the heritage of all humanity."

However the man's letter reportedly ends with a bizarre attempt to absolve himself, according to Il Messaggero, prompting ridicule and disbelief on social media in Italy.

"I admit with profound embarrassment that only after what regretfully happened did I learn of the antiquity of the monument", concludes the tourist's letter of apology to Rome.

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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