ROME (AP) — Italy’s culture and tourism ministers have vowed to find and punish the tourist who was filmed carving his name and that of his apparent girlfriend in the wall of the Colosseum in Rome, a crime that in the past has resulted in hefty fines.

Video of the incident went viral on social media, at a time when Romans have already been complaining about hordes of tourists flooding the Eternal City in record numbers this season.

Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano called the graffiti — “Ivan+Haley 23” — carved into the almost 2,000-year-old Flavian Amphitheater “serious, undignified and a sign of great incivility.” He said he hoped the culprits would be found “and punished according to our laws.”

Previous cases of tourists scrawling on the Colosseum have resulted in fines of up to $20,000.

Tourism Minister Daniela Santanche also said she hoped the tourist would be sanctioned “so that he understands the gravity of the gesture.” Calling for respect for Italy’s culture and history, she vowed: “We cannot allow those who visit our nation to feel free to behave in this way.”

In 2014, a Russian tourist was fined 20,000 euros ($25,000) for engraving a big letter ‘K’ on a wall of the Colosseum, given a summary judgment and a suspended four-year jail sentence.

The following year, two American tourists were also cited for aggravated damage after they carved their names in the monument.

Italian tourism lobby Federturismo, backed by statistics bureau ISTAT, has said 2023 is shaping up as a record for visitors to Italy, surpassing even pre-pandemic levels that hit a high in 2019.

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