(NEXSTAR) – The English tourist who was filmed carving his name into a wall at the Colosseum in Rome has offered something of an excuse for his actions, suggesting he had no idea the site was so ancient.
“I admit with profound embarrassment that only after what regretfully happened did I learn of the antiquity of the monument,” said the tourist, in a letter to Rome’s mayor and other Italian authorities that was obtained by the BBC and Italy’s Il Messaggero news outlet.
The tourist, identified as Ivan Danailov Dimitrov by USA Today and The Washington Post, was originally caught scratching his name — and the name of an apparent girlfriend — into the wall of the Colosseum on June 23.
The American tourist who filmed Dimitrov’s actions told Nexstar’s KTLA he was “pretty upset” over the incident, especially after recording the vandal grinning as he continued to carve “Ivan+Hayley 23” into the wall with what appeared to be a set of keys.
“You always hate to see any tourist doing that … You kind of hold out hope that they’re not American,” Ryan Lutz told KTLA, who can be heard calling the tourist a “stupid a——” in the video.
Less than a week later, Italian authorities said they believed they had identified the tourist using photographic comparisons.
They did not identify the offender at the time, but made clear that they would seek to punish the person responsible with a fine of up to 15,000 Euros and up to five years in jail, according to Italy’s ANSA news agency.
Dimitrov’s attorney, Alexandro Maria Tirelli, told Il Messeggero that his client had been made aware of the seriousness of his offense, and understands the need to apologize to officials and Italian citizens.
A reporter for the outlet, however, continued to question the likelihood that a visitor to the Colosseum could be unaware of the site’s age or significance in the first place, calling the offender’s letter “surreale” (surreal) and suggesting it lacked “buon senso” (common sense) within the report.
Still, the man’s lawyer told Il Messeggero that Dimitrov and his legal team “hope to reach an agreement with the prosecutor … for the application of a limited and just sentence.”