Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018

Pompeii set to avoid UNESCO-status demotion


(By Kate Carlisle) Naples, July 23 - The Italian
cultural ministry breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday when
UNESCO said that Italy had shown the verve needed to retain
Pompeii's spot in the coveted World Heritage roster.
Earlier this month, UNESCO gave Italy until December 31 to
apply a series of measures or face having one of its most famous
tourist destinations removed from the elite catalogue of
heritage locations.
"The presence of the two ministers (Italian Minister of
Culture Massimo Bray and Territorial Cohesion Minister Carlo
Trigilia) has renewed my confidence that the level of attention
and monitoring is at its best. UNESCO needed to know this," the
national president for UNESCO in Italy, Giovanni Puglisi, said.
A plan to restore the archeological site called the Great
Pompeii Project is set to show the "commitment" the country has
taken on to save one of the world's most famous archeological
sites, Bray said on Tuesday.
"We must all demonstrate to Europe that the project is
capable of winning this challenge we have taken on".
Bray visited the centuries-old site together with Trigilia
to survey work underway and check that contracts for restoration
are being fulfilled.
The site has been plagued by accusations of mismanagement
and neglect for decades.
After recent falls of structures in the past two years
there has been growing concern about Italy's ability to protect
the 2,000-year-old treasure from further degradation and the
impact of the local mafia, the Camorra.
Campania Region Tourism Director Pasquale Sommese said
earlier this month that he hoped a situation similar to Naples'
rubbish problem, which has brought criticism from the
European Court of Justice and put the region at risk for fines
due to a series of trash crises over the years, did not occur.
"I would like to avoid the situation where everyone and no
one is responsible," Sommese said.
Plans for the revamping and preservation of Pompeii were
announced in April.
Key points listed in the Great Pompeii Project are to
"secure the site's damaged areas and to ensure that this is done
using capable, honest businesses, not organized crime".
In March, a European Union Commission approved an injection
of 105 million euros in restoration funds for Pompeii's ailing
monuments, to be combined with matching money from Italy.
At least 50 million euros of the money earmarked by the EU
for restoration will be allocated by the end of the year,
Trigilia announced on Tuesday.
A parallel project of private investors and businesses to
develop areas surrounding the archeological site is also
At the beginning of July, Bray said that Pompeii, as with
the Colosseum and other historical sites, needed funds and
additional staff to effectively monitor the site and avoid
damage by visitors.
On Tuesday Bray announced that 10 domus, or ancient Roman
homes for the wealthy, in the site will be reopened in the
coming weeks.
"This is thanks to additional personnel (recently hired),"
Bray said.
Private funding will also be monitored by "clear
guidelines...a framework of rules and strict controls," Bray
The growing trend of turning to private investors to
restore some of the country's monuments has at times been met
with disapproval.
Plans for a major restoration of the Colosseum to be funded
by shoe magnate Diego Della Valle have been a point of
contention between government yay-sayers and consumer group
Codacons, which has a long-running legal complaint that the
bidding process on the project lacked transparency and
yielded too many concessions to Della Valle.
"There is no ban against those who are looking to help
enhance our cultural heritage," Bray said on Tuesday.
Private work will be monitored by "clear guidelines...a
framework of rules and strict controls".

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