My pre-teen fantasy of going to the Colosseum in Rome and sitting front row at a Hilary Duff concert has just been updated. Instead, I’d like to crack open my favorite alcoholic beverage and just cheers to the views. I’ve been inspired by a recent story reported by Corriere Della Sera in which two Americans were arrested and fined $903 for breaking into the historical landmark to enjoy some beer.
Two tourists, 24 and 25 years old, admitted to sneaking into the Colosseum before it was open to the public around 5:30 in the morning. The two trespassers didn’t cause any damage and were “just having a beer,” or at least that’s what they said to the Italian Police Officers who arrived after receiving reports of two people spotted sitting on an upper tier of the monument. Beers at 5 a.m.? I guess you could blame it on jet lag, but still, what a bold move. Leave it to us Americans, to stroll in like we own the place just to crack open some brews when we definitely have no authority to do so.
The Colosseum crashers were charged with “failure to comply with the ban on entering the archaeological areas and the ruins of ancient monuments.” Although I’m sure this could all be chalked up to a drunken idea and a cool story to look back on, it did raise some concerns for the security of the Colosseum.
The journalist who originally reported on the incident, Fabrizio Peronaci, wrote a follow-up piece calling out the need for better protection around Rome’s landmarks. “Monumental Rome needs everything except unrestrained groups, night climbers, vandals armed with screwdrivers to carve the name of their beloved in the millenary marble,” Peronaci wrote. “If it is so easy, beer in hand, to climb the Colosseum, does not [also] arise a [serious] problem of vigilance and prevention?”
To be clear, I’d still love to go to the Colosseum and clink glasses, but I would be sure to do it legally because a $900 fine sounds like a real vacation bummer.