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|