More negative international news for Colosseum.
A Romanian television crew filming in Rome was robbed, insulted and threatened by fake centurions outside the Colosseum, with footage of the incident shown on national television in Romania.
The troupe was documenting the racket by the men dressed as centurions and gladiators who charge tourists exorbitant fees for appearing in their holiday snaps.
After posing with a group of costumed centurions, the television crew was charged a group rate of €100 by an elderly man dressed as Julius Caesar. The Romanians complained that the price was too high whereupon Caesar grabbed one of their wallets and removed €50, saying that "half would do."
When the group protested, the now aggressive centurions hurled insults and physically threatened the cameraman, with one centurion even exposing himself to the crew. The Romanians complained, in vain, to some passing municipal police who seemed slow and reluctant to take any action.
Footage of the incident was broadcast on a news programme on the Romanian Kanal D television channel, as well as being shared thousands of times on Youtube, heaping more negative publicity on Italy's most visited monument.
On 24 September the Monti-based Green party councillor Nathalie Naim reported that the souvenir hawkers, banned from the Colosseum under recent city regulations, have returned to peddle their wares. Naim's video, published on her Facebook page, showed the hawkers insulting and spitting at her.
Earlier this week there were reports of an Austrian woman vandalising the ancient amphiteatre with a Swiss army knife.
On 18 September Colosseum staff staged a lightening walk-out without warning to attend a union meeting, leaving long lines of tourists queuing for three hours in the 30C-degree temperatures.
The union action prompted Italian premier Matteo Renzi to announce that museums and cultural sites will be added to the list of essential public services to prevent future unannounced closures.