Italy’s Ancient Wonders Collapse From Neglect

One of the most archaeologically significant houses in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii collapsed during the early hours of Saturday morning.

Varone said the cause of the fall down was not yet known and that archaeologists were inspecting it to assess the damage, although the Italian Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said on Sunday he believes the spoil was caused by faulty restoration in the 1950s and by the recent heavy rains.

The lower part of the 2,000-year-old house -- Latin name Schola Armaturarum -- hosts frescoes depicting military emblems, but Bondi said the frescos were not dented.

The house is closed to the public but is still one of the most admired attractions in Pompeii.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said in a press statement: "We should all feel shame for what happened."

Pompeii, near Naples in the south of Italy, is one of the most vital archaeological sites in the country -- it received 2.2 million visitors in the first 10 months of 2010 generating $23.8 million according to Varone.

Pompeii was shattered in AD79 when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city in ash. It was not uncovered until the 18th century.
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