Friday, August 8, 2014

Unsanctioned souvenirs

While Pompeii has many larger issues of conservation, it doesn't help that international tourists feel free to walk away with a pocket- or purseful of the ancient ruins. It was happening in 1958 when an American mother swiped a brick (IMAGE ABOVE) which her son tried to sell on eBay earlier this year. And it is still happening today, with a French sightseer nabbed trying to take pieces of red plaster and fragments from an amphora handle, and a Georgian national attempting to steal tiles from a mosaic. Italian tour guide Giuseppe Galano explains how difficult it is to guard the open-air museum, especially during the peak summer season, and notes, “I question whether they would do the same thing at home. They know Pompeii is famous and they want a piece of it. Especially on the first Sunday of each month when the entrance is free. About 14,000 people passed through the gates last Sunday; how can you control that?”

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