Official: Pompeii problems 'exaggerated'

Nov. 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM

NAPLES, Italy, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Deterioration at the ancient city of Pompeii has been exaggerated by the media and efforts to protect the site are making progress, Italian officials say.

Recent collapses of structures have resulted in growing concern about Italy's ability to protect the 2,000-year-old site from further degradation, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

"Problems exist at Pompeii but they have been exaggerated by negative journalists," Teresa Elena Cinquantaquattro, Special Archaeological Superintendent for Naples and Pompeii, told ANSA.

A wall surrounding an ancient villa in Pompeii collapsed in April, shortly after the Italian government launched a joint $135 million project with the European Union to save the UNESCO World Heritage site.

With the EU funding protection of buildings at the archaeological site, construction of a better water drainage system and better staff training and management, the conservation project is expected to be completed by 2015, Cinquantaquattro said.

Pompeii, destroyed and buried in ash from a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, attracts more than 2.5 million visitors a year.

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