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Rome accused of fiddling as Pompeii crumbles

Published on Dec 3, 2013 6:25 AM

ROME (REUTERS) - Collapsing walls at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii have raised fresh concerns about Italy's efforts to maintain one of the world's most treasured sites, preserved for 2,000 years but now crumbling from neglect.

On Monday, site officials said part of a wall had collapsed on one of Pompeii's major streets after weeks of heavy rains and wind. Plaster had also fallen off the wall of the ornately frescoed House of the Small Fountain.

A series of collapses in Pompeii over the last month led Italian media to dub it a "Black November" for the ancient city, preserved under ash from a volcanic eruption in AD79 and rediscovered in the 18th century, revealing a time capsule of daily life in Roman times.

The European Union launched a 105 million euro (S$179 million) restoration project for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage site in February but work has only partially begun as bids by companies for contracts are still being assessed, according to a site official.

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