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Renzi vows action on Pompeii

'Get over ideological refusal to involve private sector'

05 March, 13:29
Renzi vows action on Pompeii (ANSA) - Siracusa, March 5 - Premier Matteo Renzi on Wednesday vowed action to save Pompeii after UNESCO warned it could collapse completely without "extraordinary measures". Renzi said Italy should "get over an ideological refusal" to involve the private sector in cultural projects after recent collapses led the government to earmark two million euros for urgent repairs.

Renzi said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini "intervened promptly" by allocating the money after the latest three in a long string of rain-linked collapses at the 2,000-year-old ancient Roman site near Naples, one of Italy's biggest tourist attractions.

"But it is unacceptable that people should continue to pretend nothing is happening if, while The Great Beauty wins the Oscar, there is a wall in Pompeii that falls down".

"Italy is the country of culture and so I challenge entrepreneurs: what are you waiting for?" "We have to get over an ideological refusal about the intervention of (the) private (sector), as if only public intervention could ensure our cultural heritage is preserved," said Renzi, who has come to power on a fast-paced and radical reform agenda. "If the private sector can keep the wall up why not let it?", Italy's youngest premier said.

So far only a major restoration of the Colosseum has been funded by the private sector, Tod's shoe company owner Diego Della Valle.

But the project has become bogged down in red tape and union opposition.

The EU has earmarked more than 100 million euros for Pompeii but the money has not been allocated yet.

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