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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 15:22 UK

Tourists return chip of Colosseum

Tourists outside the Colosseum in Rome
Tourists admire what remains of the Colosseum in Rome

Two US tourists who chipped off a piece of the Colosseum in Rome 25 years ago have returned it - along with an apology for taking it.

The fragment of stone, small enough to fit into a pocket, arrived in Italy in a package from California.

A note inside read: "We should have done this sooner."

Rome's archaeology officials have accepted the couple's apology and the local tourism officer has invited them to return to the city.

It was a selfish and superficial act
American tourist

The tourists appear to have been concerned about their questionable souvenir for a long time.

"Every time I looked at my souvenir collection, and came across that piece it made me feel guilty," the note read.

"Over the years, I started thinking that if all the visitors to that beautiful monument took a piece of it away with them, nothing would be left standing.

"It was a selfish and superficial act."

The head of tourism for Lazio, Claudio Mancini said: "The message is that visitors to our city continue to cherish it even after so many years."



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