Tourist defaces ancient Roman wall on vacation, angering Italian authorities

A young man from the Netherlands was reprimanded by Italian police after he allegedly vandalized a historic Roman wall while on holiday.

The incident took place in Herculaneum, an Ancient Roman town that – like Pompeii – was covered in volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

In a press release published Monday, the Carabinieri, an Italian law enforcement agency, explained that the tourist “signed” the walls of a domus in the town on Sunday night. A domus was a townhouse-like residence for families in antiquity.

The 27-year-old was touring southern Italy on vacation at the time.

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“A 27-year-old Dutchman, on holiday in Campania, decided to leave a sign of his passage, writing with a marker on the ancient stuccoes of a house torn from the ashes of Vesuvius,” the police’s statement read. “A signature, with a black marker, [was] indelible.”

“The man was immediately identified and reported for damage and smearing of artistic works.”

Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said on Facebook that the suspect was punished for “damaging and [the] oxidation of [the] artwork.”

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“Any damage hurts our heritage, our beauty and our identity and that is why it must be punished with the utmost firmness,” Sangiuliano said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

This incident is not the first time a tourist in Italy was tempted to leave their mark. Last summer, a British tourist apologized for defacing the Colosseum in Rome.

Ivan Danailov Dimitrov, who was then 31, carved a wall with his name and his fiancée’s name, writing: “Ivan+Haley 23.”

“I admit with deepest embarrassment that it was only after what regrettably happened that I learned of the monument’s antiquity,” a letter he wrote read. “[I apologize to] Italians and the entire world for the damage done to a monument, which is, in fact, heritage of all humanity.” 

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Fox News Digital reached out to the Carabinieri for additional details.

Reuters contributed to this report.