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‘Are you serious?’: Video appears to show man carving names into Roman Colosseum wall

Italian authorities are searching for the tourist who appeared to carve "Ivan+Hayley 23" into the side of the iconic monument.
/ Source: TODAY

A video that appears to show a man carving a love note into the wall of Rome's iconic Colosseum has gone viral, leading local authorities on a hunt find the culprit.

The man, who has not been identified, was seen using a set of keys to apparently carve his name and the name of a woman into a brick of the almost 2,000-year-old monument on Friday.

"Are you serious, man? That's so f----- up," a bystander is heard saying in the video.

The man turns around and smiles, but doesn't respond.

It appears he carved “Ivan+Hayley 23” into the ancient wall, according to the video.

Man carves names in colosseum
A man appeared to carve "Ivan+Hayley 23" into the wall of Rome's Colosseum on Friday, June 23.YouTube

Ryan Lutz, a 38-year-old American who filmed the video, said in an interview with NBC News he had just toured the Colosseum when he spotted the man.

"I mean, I use the term flabbergasted and I don’t use that lightly," he said of his reaction. "I’m upset. I’m angry."

Lutz said he contacted security, who told him they notified police. But nothing happened until he posted the video online.

The outrage was immediate, Lutz said, as multiple representatives of the Italian government lashed out against the man.

Italy's Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano called the carving "a sign of great incivility" in a tweet, adding he hoped those responsible would be found "and punished according to our laws," according to an Associated Press translation.

Daniela Santanche, the country's tourism minister, said in a tweet she hoped the tourist would be sanctioned "so that he understands the gravity of the gesture," according to an Associated Press translation.

"We cannot allow those who visit our nation to feel free to behave in this way," Santanche said.

Authorities have not identified the man involved, and it was unclear what penalty he might face.

Lutz said his take was to respect the space and its people when visiting another country.

"I’d settle for this guy just kind of learning the lesson. Like don’t disrespect host countries — be respectful," Lutz said.

In 2014, a Russian tourist was fined about $25,000 and received a four-year suspended prison sentence after he wrote the letter "K" on the wall of the Colosseum, according to the Associated Press.

Two American tourists were also cited for aggravated damage after carving their names into the monument in 2015, the Associated Press reported.