Monday, December 3, 2012



POMPEII has suffered the collapse of another major wall, making it the second time this year that the irreplaceable wall of a villa has collapsed following torrential rains.

The collapse Friday of a two-meter (six-foot) section of wall in an area closed to tourists is the latest in a series that has raised concern about the state of the cultural treasure. A similar collapse MADE HEADLINES last May.

In 2010, a 2,000-year-old house collapsed in the ancient Roman city that was once used by gladiators to train before combat.

UNESCO, the Italian government and the European Commission last spring announced a project to spend €105 million ($136 million) to secure the Pompeii site.

Some 3 million people each year visit the ancient city south of Naples that was destroyed in A.D. 79 by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius.

The latest damage occurred in the midst of a UNESCO project to rebuild villas and other parts of the famed Roman site that have collapsed over the last year.

Under the deal, UNESCO will provide expert advice to the Italian government on how to upgrade conservation.

UNESCO's assistant director-general for culture, Francesco Bandarin, said the project would be a "complex endeavour".

A year ago there was a collapse in the House of the Gladiators which drew criticism from UNESCO and the European Union (EU).

It was followed soon after by a collapse at the famed House of the Moralist, spurring further criticism from international conservation groups.

Last spring there were another three minor cave-ins, including one at the House of Diomedes, after a fresh bout of heavy rain.

There was also an outcry when an eight-square metre section of a wall fell near the Nola Gate.

"Everything needs to be checked, otherwise there will be a series of more collapses," site officials said.

The EU subsequently pledged to step up supervision of Pompeii and provide more funds in future to protect one of Italy's most popular historic sites.

Critics have complained for years about looting, stray dogs, structural decay and poor management at Pompeii.

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