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Home English Pompeii garden gives way in latest collapse

Pompeii garden gives way in latest collapse


Naples, February 4 - Part of a garden in a house in
Pompeii gave way because of heavy rains Wednesday in the latest
in a rash of storm-linked collapses at the storied Roman site.
Also Wednesday, police said they had found evidence tomb
raiders were operating just outside the ancient city buried by
Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The structural collapse was in the part of the digs that
are being renovated thanks to a new, EU-funded Great Pompeii
Some of the garden wall at the House of Severus also
collapsed, it said.
It was the latest in a string of collapses in the ancient
Roman site in recent years.
Premier Matteo Renzi has vowed action to save Pompeii after
UNESCO warned it could collapse completely without
"extraordinary measures" and the EU called for urgent action.
Renzi said Italy should "get over an ideological refusal" to
involve the private sector in cultural projects after the
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 series of rain-linked collapses at the 2,000-year-old
ancient Roman site near Naples, the world's most famous open-air
museum and one of Italy's biggest tourist attractions.
UNESCO in July 2013 gave Italy until the end of that year
to apply a series of upgrade measures or face having Pompeii
removed from its prestigious list of World Heritage sites.
The measures included video surveillance of 50% of the area
and a buffer zone around the site.
Rome implemented most of the measures and got an extended
deadline for the others.
Heavy rain was blamed for a wall of a Roman-era shop
collapsing in Pompeii in March 2014, a day after two other
precious parts of the ancient city - a wall at the Temple of
Venus and another wall on a tomb in the famed necropolis of
Porta Nocera - suffered serious damage from bad weather.
These followed a long and worrying catalogue of bits of
Pompeii falling off.
In November 2010 the House of the Gladiators came down,
prompting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to say: "This is
a disgrace for the whole of Italy".
In February 2012 a piece of plaster came off the the Temple
of Jupiter, one of Pompeii's main attractions.
Then, in September 2012, at the Villa of the Mysteries, an
even more iconic building, a five-metre-long flying buttress
gave in and went crashing to the ground.
In November 2013, finally, a wall in one of the ancient
city's main thoroughfares, Via dell'Abbondanza, keeled over
while another piece of decorative plaster, at the House of the
Little Fountain, dropped from the ceiling.
In December 2013 Italy named the former head of its
prestigious art-theft unit to head up the ambitious Great
Pompeii project.
Giovanni Nistri, a general in the paramilitary Carabinieri
police who led Italy's cultural asset-protection division from
2007 to 2010, had "the right sensitivity for this job", then
culture minister Massimo Bray said at the time.
Pompeii has been plagued for decades by accusations of
mismanagement, neglect and even infiltration by the local
Camorra mafia.


Also Wednesday, police said they had found evidence that a
gang of tomb raiders was active near Pompeii, on "other parts of
the slopes of Vesuvius", and at the famed ancient Greek site of
Paestum south of Naples.
They placed 142 people under investigation and seized about
2,000 plundered artefacts.
Some links to the Camorra were uncovered, although the
suspected raiders acted "mostly off their own bat," police said.

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