Collapse of Pompeii ruin brings closing

Dec. 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM

POMPEII, Italy, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Italian authorities say they've closed part of the tourist site of Pompeii after a pillar collapsed in the garden of an ancient Roman home.

Archaeologists were assessing the damage after one of the pillars in the garden of the house of Loreius Tiburtinus, in the center of the popular tourist destination, collapsed Thursday, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

The house is famous for its extensive gardens and outdoor ornamentation, including fountains that feature many frescoes and statuettes, ANSA said.

The Thursday collapse is the latest in a number of such incidents at Pompeii, many of them caused by heavy rains, archaeologists said.

In November the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Italian government agreed to collaborate on restoring rain-damaged Pompeii after several such collapses.

Pompeii, destroyed when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city in ash in A.D. 79, attracts more than 2 million visitors a year.

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