Monday, July 22, 2013


HADRIAN's Villa risks losing its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Treasure because of a sprawling housing and retail complex which encroaches on the site.

The MezzaRoma corporation had agreed in 2012 to a buffer zone around the Villa at Tivoli east of Rome within which no construction would occur.

But now contractors "are actively pouring concrete" within that zone ... putting the site's UNESCO status at risk, according to a report by IL FATTO QUOTIDIANO.

Public prosecutor Philip War has acquired evidence leading to possible legal action. Police in Rome have obtained plans and specifications for the MezzaRoma project and have made them available to the public prosecutor.

Under an international agreement between the Italian government and UNESCO, a wide buffer zone prohibits any encroachment around Hadrian's Villa. Any violation of that zone could result in the site being removed from the World Heritage Site list.

Undersecretary for Cultural Heritage Borletti Buitoni told the newspaper: "Italy can not make a fool of itself in front of the international community." Buitoni added: "We must get to the bottom of this as soon as possible"

"I shall strive in every way to stop this real-estate speculation," he vowed. "It is imperative to close this sad chapter as soon as possible."

The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, at its annual meeting in June 2012, asked the Italian government to keep it informed of the MezzaRoma construction plans inside the buffer.

The committee also set a deadline of February 1, 2014, for subitting "an updated report on the state of conservation of the site."

In a similar scandal last year, plans for a garbage dump adjacent to Hadrian's Villa were scuttled at the last minute following protests from influential celebrities.

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