Two more walls give way at Pompeii

Two more walls have given way inside Pompeii's 2,000-year-old archaeological site, Italian officials said today — the second collapse at the popular tourist attraction in as many days.

Officials sought to play down the latest collapses, saying they only concerned the upper parts of two walls that had no artistic value. But the repeated damage at one of the world's most important archaeological sites is proving an embarrassment for Italy, and giving credence to accusations that the entire ancient city is in a state of decay.



The collapses have drawn the attention of the UNESCO experts, who will travel to Pompeii tomorrow to inspect the damage and look for other possible areas at risk.



Some three million people every year visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii, a busy Roman city that was destroyed in AD 79 by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The eruption killed thousands and buried the city in six metres of volcanic ash, providing priceless information on what life was like in the ancient world.



Pompeii was made a World Heritage site in 1997, a status that means its deterioration would be "a harmful impoverishment" to the world.



Two walls collapsed this morning, likely as a result of heavy rains over the past several days, the office of Pompeii's archaeological superintendent said. One concerned the two-metre by three-metre upper chunk of a partition wall between two buildings along the central route of Via Stabiana.



Also giving way nearby was the upper part of a wall of an ancient house known as the "small Lupanare." The name usually refers to a brothel, although this was a small house off-limits to tourists and not the vast "Lupanare" brothel famous for its erotic frescoes that is one of the main attractions at Pompeii.



Neither of the collapsed walls featured frescoes, officials said. The area has been cordoned off as cultural officials review the damage.



"These kind of events are possible over the course of the life of a 2,000-year-old, vast archaeological site," superintendent Jeannette Papadopoulos said, seeking to play down the incidents. "They should not give rise to alarmism."



Still, Culture Minister Sandro Bondi has been criticised since the collapse last month of the Schola Armaturarum, a frescoed house where gladiators prepared for combat. Then on Tuesday, a stretch of garden wall ringing the ancient House of the Moralist gave way, intensifying calls for action.



UNESCO said the collapses of the last two days "renewed concerns about the ancient Roman city's state of preservation."



UNESCO experts will identify possible threats to other structures and measures to avoid further incidents, as well as study the impact of the recent collapses on the site's "integrity, authenticity and outstanding universal value."



Bondi, a close ally of conservative Premier Silvio Berlusconi, faces a no-confidence motion in parliament, which was proposed by opposition parties in the wake of the gladiator house's collapse. The date has not been set.



Recently, other collapses have plagued Italy's vast cultural heritage, including at Nero's Golden Palace in Rome and at the Colosseum, where three chunks of mortar broke off months ago.



Bondi has denied responsibility, telling an Italian newspaper that between September 2003 and February 2010 there have been 16 collapses at Pompeii.



"As you can see, collapses don't just take place when the right is in charge," Bondi told the Corriere della Sera. Bondi also said he had called a meeting to look at ways to better preserve the site, including possibly with private funding.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea