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More rain damage at Pompeii - update 2

English
© ANSA

Naples, February 6 - Pompeii suffered fresh rain
damage Friday as two bits of plaster fell off the House of the
Centenary, the home of a wealthy resident which was named to
mark the 18th centenary of the volcanic disaster that buried the
Roman city in 79 AD.
Two days ago a garden caved in due to heavy rainfall,
bringing part of a wall at the House of Severus with it.
The first piece detached Friday was 20cm long and
originally red; while the second incident concerned two rough
pieces of plaster measuring 10cm.
The House of the Centenary is known for explicit erotic
scenes in a room that may have been designed as a private sex
club.
It also features the earliest known depiction of Vesuvius.
The house was discovered in 1879, 1800 years after the
eruption that covered Pompeii in searing ash.
Built in the mid-2nd century BC, it is among the largest
houses in the city, with private baths, a nymphaeum, a fish
pond, and two atria.
Friday's incidents were 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.
He said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini "intervened
promptly" by allocating the money after last March's three
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, part-funded by the EU.
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.

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