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Rain blamed for crumbling walls in Pompeii

Culture minister calls meetings on pricey restoration project

03 March, 12:52
Rain blamed for crumbling walls in Pompeii (See related) (ANSA) - Pompeii, March 3 - The collapse of three walls, including one on Monday, in the world-famous archaeological site of Pompeii amid heavy rains in the area has triggered calls for faster action to improve maintenance and preservation.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini called for urgent meetings to be held on Tuesday after a two-meter-high wall that was part of a Roman-era shop in an area closed to the public fell on Monday. One day earlier, heavy rains were blamed for the collapse of a wall in the Temple of Venus as well as a separate wall in a tomb in the necropolis of Porta Nocera. Franceschini, former minister of parliamentary relations who was appointed only 10 days earlier as culture minister, reportedly wants to hear the precise reason for the walls' collapse, plus information on maintenance programs and an update on the so-called Great Project of Pompeii.

That includes an injection of 105 million euros in European Union funds for restoration of Pompeii's ailing monuments, which was to be matched by the Italian government. The 2,000-year-old archaeological treasure has been plagued for decades by accusations of mismanagement and neglect.

More recently, collapses in various structures have triggered growing concern about Italy's ability to protect the UNESCO World Heritage site from further degradation and the impact of the local mafia, the Camorra.