Italian Police Investigating After Tourist Filmed Carving Romantic Message into Rome's Colosseum

tourist carves into Collosseum wall
Stills from the video that has gone viral on social media. YouTube

A man caught carving a romantic message onto the walls of Rome's Colosseum has sparked outrage in Italy.

In a video posted online , a young man carrying a backpack was seen using a set of keys to carve the words "Ivan + Hayley 23" in full view of other tourists.

The moment was filmed by a bystander on June 23, according to the video's time stamp, but has only recently gone viral on social media.

The man, who was joined by a woman at his side, did not attempt to hide his actions when he noticed he was being filmed.

Instead, he grinned at the camera and continued to scratch the bricks even as the person filming was heard saying: "Are you f——g serious, man? That is f—-d-up, man. Stupid a——e."

The video, which was captioned: "A——e tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome", drew a furious reaction on social media as well.

"People like this should have their passports revoked," wrote one user, while another commented, "They got his face, so hopefully he's arrested and charged."

Italy's Carabinieri police said it was investigating the matter.

Gennaro Sangiuliano, the Italian culture minister, said: "I consider it very serious, unworthy and a sign of great incivility that a tourist defaces one of most famous places in the world, a historical heritage such as the Colosseum, to carve the name of his fiancee."

If caught, the man risks a fine of up to €15,000 ($16,400) and being jailed for up to five years.

Other tourists who have been arrested in the past for similar misbehaviour were given huge penalties.

In 2014, a Russian tourist who carved his initials into the Colosseum was handed a four-month suspended sentence and fined €20,000 ($21,800).