A tourist was caught driving a moped through the Campanian site of Pompeii on Wednesday. He was immediately apprehended by site security and police.
The tourist — aged 33 and Australian — illegally entered the site through the service entrance, Porta Vesuvio, piggybacking onto legitimate cars which were entering, the archaeological park explained in a statement.
He was apprehended by security personnel a few minutes later, who held him until police arrived.
It is believed he had traveled 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.”
Pompeii is one of the most important, and fragile, sites of the ancient world. Frozen in time by a volcanic eruption in 79 C.E., it is still routinely throwing up surprises in new excavations.
Main image: Parco Archeologico di Pompei