“Aliens exist” is the English text written in blue spray on the walls of the Pantheon in Rome, one of the most important monuments in the world. The Carabinieri are looking for the author of the graffiti but, for now, they have a problem: the external video surveillance circuit did not record the attack during the car night, which was probably the one on Monday of last week. Only last Saturday someone denounced the graffiti.
The discovery was made two days ago by the neighbors. “A doorman on Via della Rotonda noticed and warned us,” says Stefano Ramoni, owner of a jewelry store on Via di Sant’Eustsachio, “because, together with some local merchants, we work every day against the deterioration of the zone”. The case has served to discover that the Pantheon lacks surveillance cameras that cover its facade. “Inside, we share the video control system with the Diocese of Rome”, explained Gabriella Musto, responsible for the management and conservation of the Pantheon. “But outside, the responsibility lies with the Municipality and I believe that the camera closest to the graffiti is part of a circuit that was abandoned.”
“In addition to this last very serious act of vandalism”, continues Musto, “we struggle every day with urgent degradation problems: homeless people camp and sleep everywhere, lately even in the gutters and there is a phenomenon of uncontrolled haggling in illegal guided tours , because only the Diocese of Rome is supposed to be able to organize such visits. Until 15 years ago, the complex was protected by a gate that was later removed with much controversy. Today we have an internal debate about whether to restore these closures.”
The graffiti of “Aliens exist” is large; the restorers of the State Heritage Superintendence have already carried out the first tests to erase it without damaging the stones of the temple. “I have just received your report,” explains Mariastella Margozzi, director of the State Museums of Rome. “He reports an experiment with a solvent and then recommends a laser technique that seems safe and fast. We think by Monday or Tuesday at the latest we’ll be able to clear this mess.”
A few meters from the Pantheon, the same hand and the same spray wrote “Strange World” twice on the walls of Via Monterone. “At first we thought of some esoteric sect linked to the Pantheon, historically situated between the sacred and the profane,” says Musto. “But we also have disturbing rumors linking this to the political scene of the last few days.”
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