Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018

'Camorra risk' probed at Pompeii


(By Kate Carlisle)
Naples, September 12 - Plans to revamp Pompeii
that were announced last April not only restoration details for
the Roman city that was buried under ash in 79 AD, but also
focused on the importance of saving the site from destructive
criminal forces of the local Camorra mafia.
Anti-mafia investigators, anxious to keep gangs from
infiltrating contracts to skim off cash and impede works,
carried out inspections on Thursday of three construction
companies as well as 20 individuals involved in the Great
Pompeii Project, which has drawn 105 million euros in support
from the European Union.
The contractors inspected are responsible for the
revamping of three domus villas, or ancient Roman homes for the
wealthy that are a highlight for visitors to the archeological
site, and for which 3.6 million euros have been earmarked.
A total of five villas are slated for works worth six
million euros.
Authorities want to ensure that a slew of lucrative
contracts for works in the site stay far out of reach for the
Another eight contracts worth 2 million euros were
awarded in July for land stabilization to avoid landslide risk.
A further 39 projects have been outlined, but contracts
have yet to be drafted for bidding.
The Great Pompeii Project has become something of a
symbol for Italian authorities, who want to demonstrate the
country can preserve and protect a world famous archaeological
site - both from physical decay as well as corruption by the
The site has been plagued by accusations of mismanagement
and neglect for decades.
Collapses in parts of 2,000-year-old Pompeii, a UNESCO
World Heritage site, in recent years have raised international
concern about Italy's ability to protect the site.
The Italian culture ministry breathed a sigh of relief in
July when UNESCO said that Italy had shown the verve needed to
retain Pompeii's spot in the coveted World Heritage roster.
Earlier in July UNESCO had given Italy an ultimatum to
either apply a series of measures by December 31 or face having
one of its most famous tourist destinations removed from the
elite catalogue of heritage locations.
The appointment of a new director general for Pompeii and
the surrounding area was part of a decree approved in Italy's
cabinet early August to boost the country's culture sector.
"Project Pompeii is a project coordinating initiatives for
the archaeological site. It will be overseen by a director
general to ensure compliance with the commitments regarding
Pompeii, who will also have special superintendence over
Herculaneum and Stabia," Italian Culture Minister Massimo Bray
said at the announcement.
"Pompeii will become an example of transparency and a
positive example of the south," Bray said.
Premier Enrico Letta said that the decree will give "ample
power" to the director and foresees the "enhancement of Pompeii.
"It is our responsibility to make the site available for
the world," Letta said.

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