Saudi man charged after he drove a Maserati down Rome's world-famous Spanish Steps, police say
- Surveillance footage shows a Maserati driving down Rome's iconic Spanish Steps.
- The car damaged the 300-year-old world-famous landmark, Rome's heritage protection body said.
A Saudi national has been charged with aggravated damage to cultural heritage and monuments after he drove a rented Maserati down Rome's iconic Spanish Steps, local police said.
The 37-year-old was apprehended at Milan's Malpensa airport after police tracked his identity using CCTV videos and contacting the car hire company he used, Rome's police force said on Facebook.
Surveillance footage shows a Maserati being driven through the pedestrian zone of Trinità dei Monti, at the top of the Spanish Steps, between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. It appears to be one of Maserati's SUV models.
The car can be seen descending the first flight steps before grounding to a halt in the footage. Somebody then appears to leave the vehicle to inspect the damage, the footage shows, before completing the 135-step descent.
The car fractured two steps, according to Rome's heritage protection body, per CNN. The 16th and 29th steps of the right-hand flight were damaged in the incident, the body said.
Some fragments were temporarily reattached, the body said, but further work will be needed to restore the 300-year-old steps.
"Widespread chippings, scratches, abrasions, and deposits on both ramps of the second level, attributable to the same event" were also discovered, the body said, per CNN.
The Spanish Steps were built in the 18th century and have become one of Rome's most famous landmarks.
They feature in the 1953 movie "Roman Holiday," starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. They're also mentioned in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "Tender Is the Night" and Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece."
The steps underwent a major restoration in 2016, which was sponsored by the luxury fashion house Bulgari.