It took a few hundred years, but tourists have now ruined the Colosseum. According to BBC News, the Colosseum has banned selfie sticks, those newfangled inventions that allow photo lovers to take the perfect Instagram selfie without fumbling with a smartphone or camera. The historic Rome attraction is the latest European monument to prohibit selfie sticks — all because of damage caused by overeager tourists.
The ban comes a week after two tourists visiting Rome from California were caught carving their initials into the wall of the Colosseum. The two women, who are in their 20s, reportedly carved the letters "J" and "N" into the wall with a coin, then took a selfie of their work. Of course, that selfie later led them to being apprehended by Rome police.
Why would two tourists feel the need to vandalize a nearly 2000-year-old site and snap a selfie of their damage? A spokesperson for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome told The Guardian last week that some tourists just don't respect the Colosseum because of its age. "Museums are treated like churches, sacred places where there are things of great value," the spokesperson said. "Whereas the Colosseum is an incomplete building which has already been robbed."
So it's not too unusual for the Colosseum to endure vandalism from tourists, but last week's selfie incident was the last straw for Rome. From now on, no one will be allowed to take a selfie stick inside the amphitheater — so tourists better brush up on their handheld selfie skills.
As it turns out, the Colosseum won't be the first world attraction to ban the camera device. On Wednesday, officials at the French palace Versailles and the National Gallery in London announced that selfie sticks are now banned from both establishments.
The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., also banned selfie sticks in early February. Just last week, the rest of the Smithsonian's museums in D.C. followed suit. Several other high-profile U.S. museums have already barred the device from their grounds, too, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Art museums were perhaps the starter of this selfie-stick ban, as many art museum officials have expressed to the media in the past that they were worried about the safety of the multimillion-dollar artworks.
Even soccer stadiums are jumping on the ban-wagon, including several sports centers in England and Brazil. In fact, Brazil barred the selfie-taking device at every single soccer stadium in the nation.
It looks like selfie sticks are nearing their end.
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