Ancient Pompeii to get 105 mn euro makeover

Feb 06, 2013 by Gildas Le Roux
Visitors look at the Orto dei fuggiaschi (Garden of the Fugitives) in Pompeii, Italy. The long-neglected Roman city of Pompeii will get a 105-million euro ($142-million) makeover partly funded by the EU starting on Wednesday, a day after former site managers were put under investigation for corruption.

The long-neglected Roman city of Pompeii will get a 105-million euro ($142-million) makeover partly funded by the EU starting on Wednesday, a day after former site managers were put under investigation for corruption.

The project, which is being funded to the tune of 41.8 million euros from the European Union, is seen as crucial for the survival of after a series of collapses at the 44-hectare site in the shadow of .

The devastated Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago in 79 AD but the ash and rock helped preserve buildings almost in their original state, as well as forming eery shapes around the curled-up corpses of victims of the disaster.

The hugely popular site near Naples has come to symbolise the decades of mismanagement of many of Italy's cultural treasures, as well as the fallout from recent steep cuts in budgets for culture because of austerity measures.

The repairs are aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to the elements, reinforcing the ancient Roman buildings, restoring Pompeii's famous frescoes and increasing at the site where security has been lax.

On the eve of the opening ceremony, Italian financial police announced they were investigating Marcello Fiori, a former director of the site appointed by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2009, for alleged abuse of office.

Tourists visit the restored Thermae Stabianae baths in Pompeii, Italy last March. A volcanic eruption devastated Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago in 79 AD but the ash and rock helped preserve buildings almost in their original state.

Luigi D'Amora, Pompeii's previous supervisor of , was also accused of defrauding the state. Meanwhile a former contractor, Annamaria Caccavo, was placed under for hugely inflating costs.

One contract priced by Caccavo at 449,882 euros ended up costing the state 4.84 million euros, prosecutors said in court documents.

Tourists visit the Roman site of Pompei in October 2011. The hugely popular site near Naples has come to symbolise the decades of mismanagement of many of Italy's cultural treasures, as well as the fallout from recent steep cuts in budgets for culture because of austerity measures.

The works "were not essential" for preserving Pompeii and were geared towards holding stage performances in the ruins of the ancient city.

The latest renovations will be managed by a "steering committee" with Italian government ministries and European Union representatives to ensure that the funds are not misspent.

"We will be very strict on the timetable," Fabrizio Barca, Italy's minister for territorial cohesion, who oversees regional spending, said ahead of Wednesday's event which will also include the interior and culture ministers.

European Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who will be the star guest at the ceremony, told Italian news agency ANSA on Tuesday that the project could be a "model" for cultural spending in the European Union.

The "Grand Pompeii Project" will also improve facilities for visitors and the European Commission estimates the number of tourists at the site could increase from around 2.3 million a year to 2.6 million by 2017.

Unveiling the plans last year, Prime Minister Mario Monti said it showed the need for "courage and strength" to carry out complex projects in southern Italy which has long been plagued by under-investment and high corruption.

Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage site, provides a snapshot of daily life in Roman times and includes such gems as the Villa of Mysteries, which is decorated with frescos that appear to show a woman's initiation ceremony into a cult.

Explore further: World's largest solar boat on Greek prehistoric mission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Italy: More building collapses at Pompeii possible

Nov 08, 2010

(AP) -- More buildings inside the ancient Roman city of Pompeii could collapse, Italy's culture minister said Sunday, a day after a 2,000-year-old house once used by gladiators disintegrated into rubble.

Life and death (and sex and sewage) in a Roman town

Dec 14, 2010

Forget your preconceptions about the civilised, sparkling, white cityscapes of the ancient world: Real-life Pompeii was an altogether more sordid proposition, as Cambridge classicist Mary Beard is set to explain.

Visit Pompeii with the Victorians in Second Life

Dec 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A 3D recreation of a Roman house in Pompeii has been built in the virtual world Second Life by Dr Shelley Hales and Dr Nic Earle from the University of Bristol.

Remains of man in armour found at 'Pompeii of Japan'

Dec 18, 2012

The remains of a high-caste man wearing armour who was buried by hot ash—possibly as he tried to calm the wrath of an erupting volcano—have been found in an area known as the "Pompeii of Japan".

In ancient Pompeii, trash and tombs went hand in hand

Jan 04, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cemeteries in ancient Pompeii were “mixed-use developments” with a variety of purposes that included serving as an appropriate site to toss out the trash. That’s according to ...

Recommended for you

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

1 hour ago

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland ...

Dinosaurs doing well before asteroid impact

3 hours ago

A new analysis of fossils from the last years of the dinosaurs concludes that extra-terrestrial impact was likely the sole cause of extinction in most cases.

A word in your ear, but make it snappy

Jul 28, 2014

To most, crocodiles conjure images of sharp teeth, powerful jaws and ferocious, predatory displays – but they are certainly not famous for their hearing abilities. However, this could all change, as new ...

User comments : 0