Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Collapse In Pompeii Highlights Neglect In Italy

A 2,000-year-old building at the ancient site of Pompeii collapsed in rubble earlier this month, only months after a piece of Rome's Colosseum fell to the ground and the roof of the home of Emperor Nero crumbled. The collapses made world headlines and triggered criticism of sharp budget cuts and charges of neglect of Italy's vast archaeological heritage.

Pompeii, a UNESCO world heritage site, was destroyed in A.D. 79 by a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands and buried the city under 20 feet of ash. But the ash also helped preserve Pompeii's treasures, providing precious information about life in the ancient world.

Every year, Pompeii attracts 2.5 million visitors, and many come even on cold, rainy days in winter. Walking along the ancient Roman road, visitors see many houses propped up by beams, some of them rotting.

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