Alarm sounded over Italy's poorly kept historic monuments
ROME (AFP) - Alarm bells are ringing once more over the upkeep of Italy's historic monuments, from the Roman city of Pompeii to the Colosseum, with budget cuts hampering repairs and Unesco issuing a stern rebuke.
"Over the last five years, the culture budget has been reduced by two thirds," Culture Minister Massimo Bray complained in an interview on Monday published in Italian newspapers.
Italy is now lagging well behind its European counterparts: the country allocates just 1.1 per cent of its budget to culture, compared to 7.4 per cent in Ireland, 3.3 per cent in Spain and 2.5 per cent in France.
The lack of funds is having a disastrous affect on the country's archaeological treasures, with many sites closed due to fears of rock collapses and others sporadically shut by protests and strikes.