Pompeii, no more time to wait

Negligence, hydrogeological instability, heavy rain, insufficient funding for the management of a large and important archaeological site such as Pompeii. According to experts these are some of the causes of the collapses that have recently occurred in the ruins of this ancient Vesuvian town. “This leaves us shocked,” said Dennis Abbott, spokesman for European Commissioner for Culture Andoulla Vassiliou, “A shame for Italy,” said the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano. What happened caused protests and outrage all around the world and put at risk even the Italian Government stability (together with many other reasons right now).
After the tragic series of collapses that occurred in different “domus” (the gladiators home, the moralist home and part of the “lupanare”), Unesco sent a team of inspectors. After their inspection, the Unesco Experts urged the Italian government to launch a swift and decisive action plan for the safety of this archaeological site. The government, meanwhile, is working on a special plan for Pompeii, which requires the employment of a larger staff and promotes private funding, like the Colosseum renovation sponsored with more than 25 millions of euros by some of the Italian bigger entrepreneurs. At the moment the parliamentary debate has been postponed.
The European Commissioner for regional policy, Johannes Hahn, during a meeting at the Italian Parliament, said that It will be possible to allocate on the project for the Pompeii preservation part of the 29 billion of euros of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund 2007/2013 destinated to Italy and never used until now. Not only because it is one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world (about 2 million visitors per year) but also because of the peculiar and problematic urban context (difficult access to the archaeological area, abusive souvenir sellers assaulting tourists, hundreds of stray dogs that live among the ancient ruins).
A critical factor is also the heterogeneous mix of political authorities involved in the management of the site and its surroundings, with an unclear chain of command. Indeed, while the archaeological site is managed by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage, part of the Ministry of Culture, the surrounding area is under the authority of the municipality of Pompeii. More, religious tourism must be taken in account to understand the complexity of the area. Millions of pilgrims visit every year the famous Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, direct managed by the Vatican.
Given this situation It comes clear that a relaunch strategy of Pompeii has to involve not only the archaeological area but all these delicate issues. This is the only way the city can flourish again.
For the moment, however, everybody is waiting the pending decision of the government, hoping that in the meantime, there will be no more collapses.

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