Pillar Collapses at Pompei Heritage Site
    2011-12-23 05:10:38     Xinhua       Web Editor: Jiang

A pillar collapsed at one of the best-preserved buildings of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompei in southern Italy, local media said on Thursday.

The accident took place on an external pergola of the House of Loreius Tiburtinus - also known as the House of Octavius Quartio - and was probably caused by recent heavy rainfalls in the area, state-run Rai television said.

One of the Roman site's best-preserved buildings, the House of Loreius Tiburtinus, was once the home of the descendant of a noble local family, and it is renowned for its extensive courtyard overlooked by spectacular fountains and frescoes.

The accident was the latest in a series of collapses at the archaeological site in recent months.

In October, a consistent section of a wall near Pompei's Nola gate fell reportedly also due to heavy rains, while last year many wall portions and even entire buildings collapsed, such as the treasured Schola Armaturarum, a frescoed house where gladiators used to prepare for combat.

Deep concern has been mounting among local analysts that Italy, which is facing a severe debt crisis and recession, is not doing enough to protect its precious historical sites.

Last November, UNESCO and the Italian government agreed to join forces to restructure villas and other buildings of Pompei that have collapsed recently.

Once a flourishing Roman town, Pompei was destroyed in 79 AD when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried it in meters of ash.

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