Saturday, 8 September 2012

Pompeii - Roof Collapse in the Villa of Mysteries


Once again there is damage to parts of the ancient city of Pompeii, this time a supporting beam collapsed bringing part of the roof of the Villa of Mysteries with it.
The body that maintains the site has been criticised frequently for not doing sufficient to maintain the excavated areas of the city.
Decoration in the Villa of Mysteries

Villa of Mysteries

When I visited Pompeii in 2007 my guide, despite the fact that he earns his living from taking tourists around the city, wanted the number of tourists limited and for no further excavations to take place. The House of Julia Felix was at that time closed to visitors, due so our guide believed to structural issues. Our guide wanted the buildings in  the  Regio  III,  IV  and  V covered up. Exposure to the elements, pollution, erosion, tourism and poor  methods  of  excavation  and  reconstruction  over  the  years have increased the chance of collapse.

Earthquakes are not uncommon in that area of Italy and collapse would not be beyond the realms of possibility. Our guide was for conservation to take precedence over tourism.. However,  funding  never   matched  the  need,  and  the  rate  of deterioration was always increasing. Whilst tourism is a contributory factor to the site’s deterioration, it is also a large source of funding for conservation. As it is less than a third of the buildings available for public  viewing in  the  1960s  are  open  today.  Tourism  is  also  the driving force of the modern town of Pompei. How does one balance the books  between  tourism,  history and  culture, preservation and conservation? It is not going to be an easy equation to solve.
Street in Pompeii



My book, A Little Bit of Italy, can be purchased in Kindle format and paperback from Lulu.com 

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