A Saudi Arabian man who drove a Maserati down the world-famous Spanish Steps in the Italian capital Rome in May 2022 is on trial for damaging cultural heritage and faces two to five years in prison. This is reported by the Italian news agency Ansa.
The 38-year-old suspect drove the rented sports car down the famous steps next to the Trinità dei Monti church in the evening. Ansa writes that the car caused an estimated 50,000 euros in damage to more than three steps.
The man managed to drive away with the help of bystanders but was arrested a few days later when he tried to hand in the damaged Maserati to Milan airport. He was identified by security footage on the stairs.
The eighteenth-century Spanish Steps, designed by the architect Francesco De Sanctis, are one of the most famous sights in Rome and are recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.
Yet it was not the first time a car drove down the stairs in the Italian capital. In 2018, a driver lost control of his car, and in 2007 another driver, who was under the influence of alcohol, also drove down the stairs. The incidents have sparked a debate to better protect the steps, for example, by closing the road at the top to traffic.