Remembering Pompeii

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

You probably remember from lessona at school, Lord Lytton’s novel “The Last Days of Pompeii” or even the Frankie Howerd film, “Up Pompeii” the story of the city that was mostly covered in volcanic ash. Now the site is one of the great tourist “must-do’s.” But the way things are going it might be a “must don’t.”
Although Professor Mary Beard was there at the time and says a wall didn’t collapse but some stones were dislodged, The Guardian reports this morning that a wall fell down over the weekend due to rainfall. Whatever the truth, we do know that, about a year ago, the House of Gladiators collapsed and the Italian government promised additional support to maintain the city. This hasn’t eventuated. Any support has, according to one expert quoted in the Guardian, been “diverted” to museums in nearby Naples.
Teresa Elena Cinquantaquattro, superintendent of the site is quoted as saying that waterproofing and regular maintenance would have protected the wall. For over a year now she has been waiting for the promised €100 million or so that the Italian government talked of to materialise.
Only one third of the buildings that were open fifty years ago, are open today. The Italian Culture minister says he is awaiting the release of funds from the European Union. Why? Can’t he find some money to loan the city until it comes through? And why isn’t it Italian funds?
If it doesn’t come soon there won’t be UNESCO status, there won’t be many of the two and a half million tourists who currently visit because it will be unsafe to go to the site, and there will just be the memories of those of us lucky enough to have already visited it already!

image courtesy of Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei

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