The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO and the Italian government have agreed to join forces to restore rain-damaged Pompeii. UNESCO said it would work with Italy over the next nine months to rebuild villas and other parts of the famed Roman site that have collapsed over the last year.
Under the deal, UNESCO will provide expert advice to the Italian government on how to upgrade conservation. UNESCO’s assistant director-general for culture, Francesco Bandarin, said the project would be a “complex endeavour”.
Last November there was a collapse in the House of the Gladiators which drew criticism from UNESCO and the European Union. It was followed soon after by a collapse at the famed House of the Moralist, spurring further criticism from international conservation groups. Last month there were another three minor cave-ins, including one at the House of Diomedes, after a fresh bout of heavy rain. There was also an outcry when an eight-square metre section of a wall fell near the Nola Gate.
Pompeii was destroyed when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city in ash in 79 AD and it now attracts more than two million visitors a year.
Polemics about looting, stray dogs, structural decay and poor maintenance have dogged Pompeii in recent years.