Driver charged with ‘unauthorised access’
An Australian tourist accused of driving his moped through the ancient city of Pompeii has been charged in Italy.
Tourist vehicles are banned from travelling through the 2,000-year-old site which was famously destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.
The tourist, reported to be 33-years-old, was immediately apprehended by security in the Campanian site on Wednesday and was subsequently charged with “unauthorised access.”
He is accused of travelling for around a mile before he was caught. The tourist claimed not to have known that the world-famous archaeological park was off-limits.
The park said in a statement that he had not accessed or damaged any parts of the ancient city. “The route taken is a dirt road outside the ancient city walls, used by site vehicles for excavation works,” they said.
“It is safe, restored, and not accessible to the public. So there was no danger for either visitors or for the archaeological heritage at any point.”
They emphasized that the episode lasted only “a few minutes thanks to the efficient work by security guards and CCTV.”
Italian media reacted with outrage to the incident, calling the Australian a “barbarian.” Authorities believe the man, who later apologised, broke into the site through a gate used by maintenance vehicles.
In June, two American tourists were fined €400 (£338) each after causing €25,000 (£21,000) of damage while walking – and then throwing – their e-scooters down the Spanish Steps.
The 28-year-old woman and 29-year-old man were caught on camera at the world heritage site. According to Rome’s police, the woman “purposely launched the scooter” down the 18th-century Trinità de Monti staircase.
Rome’s heritage protection body said it caused fractures to the 16th and 29th steps of the right-hand staircase.
Pompeii is one of the most important, and fragile, sites of the ancient world. It was frozen in time by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.