Controversy erupts over lack of security cameras at Rome landmark.
Rome's Pantheon has been vandalised with graffiti that reads "Aliens Exist" alongside what appears to be two flying saucers, sprayed on the exterior of the ancient building which dates back almost 2,000 years.
The incident, first reported by the Italian media on Saturday, is believed to have occurred some time on Monday night.
The vandalism was first noticed by local traders on Tuesday morning, and the state archaeological superintendency is studying the best methods to remove the graffiti from the walls of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rome police have launched an investigation into the incident however their work has been hampered by the absence of functioning security cameras in the area, reports Corriere della Sera.
The site's director Gabriella Musto, told the Corriere that the security system inside the Pantheon - a place of worship - is shared with the diocese of Rome.
"However outside, the responsibility lies with the city and I believe that the camera a few metres from the graffiti is part of a system that has been abandoned for some time and never replaced", said Musto.
Experts from the superintendency are set to remove the graffiti using solvents and a laser technique, Musto said, and the site should be restored by early next week.
The incident has come to light days after a Canadian tourist used a stone to carve the initials of her name into the Colosseum while in May an American tourist was rescued by firefighters after he attempted to climb the dome of the Pantheon in an act of bravado at dawn.
In 2019, in pre-covid times, the Pantheon attracted more than nine million visitors, making it the most visited site in Italy.
Photo Margherita Corrado
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Rome's Pantheon defaced with 'Aliens Exist' graffiti
Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
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