Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Pompeii...

...stands a pile of rubble where the House of the Gladiators stood for 2,000 years. The frescoed building fell on November 6th, providing urgent evidence that the ancient city - a World Heritage site and major tourist destination - has been allowed to fall into disrepair.

Professor Christopher Smith, director of the British School in Rome which has excavated at the much better preserved and maintained town of Herculaneum, said: "It's extremely sad to see what has happened at Pompeii, which is clearly suffering problems from its maintenance....Archeological sites are always at risk when they are open to the elements but the problems at Pompeii have been going back for decades and our experience is that you need a good plan for maintenance and administration....Unless there is a proper plan put into action I'm very sad to say that we will see this sort of thing happen again – buildings that are at risk must be secured or they will collapse."

Luisa Bossa, Italian Democratic Party (PD) deputy, accused, “I’ve been sounding the alarm about Pompeii for months. This very serious collapse is proof that the government and Minister Bondi have underestimated the problem and talked a whole load of rubbish....At the site this summer, there were bulldozers, diggers, cement mixers and pneumatic drills. Not even the slightest regulations for the stability of the archaeological site were respected.”

Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore wrote, "Precisely because it belongs to all humanity, its management should be taken away from a state that has shown itself incapable of protecting it."

Walter Veltroni, former mayor of Rome and former leader of the opposition Democratic Party commented, "This is the latest sign that this government is not interested in culture."

The stone house, known as Schola Armaturarum, was the barracks for gladiators in Pompeii. They trained in a specially built gymnasium and climbed these stairs to enter the amphitheater where they fought animals and men to the death.

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