Irish Journalist: Ivan Dimitrov Apologizes for Damaging Colosseum
In a letter addressed to the city’s prosecutor and mayor, Ivan Danailov Dimitrov, a 27-year-old man, expressed remorse for his actions and apologized to the people of Italy and the entire world for causing damage to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Colosseum. Dimitrov acknowledged the seriousness of his actions and admitted to acting with frivolousness, flippancy, and incivility, to the detriment of other visitors.
The letter, originally written in Italian, was translated by The Washington Post. Dimitrov stated, “I have no excuses” and accepted full responsibility for his actions. He also recognized the “inestimable artistic and historical importance” of the Colosseum, expressing deep embarrassment for not fully appreciating its ancient significance until after the incident.
Dimitrov’s attorney, Alexandro Maria Tirelli, confirmed that he had submitted a plea bargain request to keep his client out of jail. While the prosecutor has agreed to no jail time, the specifics of the plea bargain were still being negotiated.
Efforts to reach prosecutors and representatives for the Carabinieri, Italy’s national police, for comment were unsuccessful. Last week, the Associated Press reported that authorities used photographs to identify Dimitrov as the visitor who caused the damage. His face was visible in a viral video where he used a key to write “Ivan + Hayley 23” on a wall. The incident was promptly reported to security by an American visitor, Ryan Lutz.
Lutz, who captured the incident on video, expressed his astonishment and informed the news outlet NBC that he hoped Dimitrov would learn a lesson from this experience. He emphasized the importance of respecting host countries and their cultural heritage.
Italian officials took to social media to express their outrage. Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano tweeted that the act was “a sign of great incivility,” while Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè expressed her hope that the tourist would face sanctions. Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that the penalties for the damage could include up to five years in prison and a fine exceeding €15,000.
The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and respecting historical sites. The Colosseum, with its rich history and cultural significance, is a symbol of Rome’s ancient past. Actions such as Dimitrov’s not only cause physical damage but also undermine the value and integrity of these iconic landmarks. It is essential for visitors to appreciate and protect these treasures for future generations to enjoy.
As negotiations for the plea bargain continue, it remains to be seen what consequences Dimitrov will face for his actions. The case has garnered significant attention, both in Italy and internationally, drawing attention to the need for greater awareness and respect when visiting historical sites.