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Investigation begins into neglect of Pompeii | The Art Newspaper

Investigation begins into neglect of Pompeii | The Art Newspaper.

POMPEII. Nine people have been placed under investigation by the
Italian authorities for neglect of the Pompeii site following the
collapse of the House of the Gladiators in November, and more
recently, damage done to the House of the Moralist when a wall gave
way. The investigation is mainly focusing on those involved in the
management of Pompeii before the state-backed commissioner Marcello
Fiori— brought in to save the site in June 2008 with €79m funding—was
appointed.
According to our sister paper Il Giornale dell’Arte, those set to be
questioned by the public prosecutor about the “lack of safeguards” at
the 2,000-year-old ruins include Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, former
superintendent of Naples and Pompeii; site director Antonio Varone who
oversaw the waterproof specifications of the House of the Gladiators
(torrential rain made the ground unstable causing its concrete roof to
fall through); Valerio Papaccio, head of technical services and the
architect Paola Rispoli. The investigation is also set to examine
Fiori’s tenure, which ended in July, including the financial cost of
his regime.
The House of the Moralist reportedly collapsed because damp soil
undermined the foundations. But two other structures have since fallen
apart at the Pompeii site. A wall along one of the main streets, the
Via Stabiana, crumbled, according to a statement from the temporary
superintendent of Naples and Pompeii, Jeannette Papadop­oulos, while
part of a side room in the House of the Small Lupanar, which was not
open to the public, also fragmented. Papadopoulos said that such
collapses were again due to the heavy rain.
Meanwhile, culture minister Sandro Bondi, who hoped to transfer the
management of Pompeii to a new foundation with a board of trustees
representing institutions with interests in the site, has been dealt a
blow: the government may pursue another rescue plan instead. A
spokesman for the culture ministry told The Art Newspaper: “The [idea]
of a foundation is not under discussion at all. A statement released
by Bondi, Stefano Caldoro [president of the Campania region] and Luigi
Cesaro [president of the province of Naples] outlines plans to set up
a task force of architects with extra [financial] resources to
undertake emergency work on site, relaunch a competition (originally
established in 2008) to hire archaeologists, and strengthen the powers
of the superintendent.” The new plans were set to be presented to the
Council of Ministers as we went to press.

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