Thursday, February 07, 2013

Italy: Pompeii makeover begins amid corruption scandal The ancient city of Pompeii is getting a 105 million euro makeover, after a series of collapses.

The European Union has provided 40 million euros towards the conservation work. EU Commissioner Johannes Hann officially launched the project on Wednesday.

On the eve of the grand opening, Italian police announced that they had launched an investigation into former managers of the site for corruption.

Antonio Irlando of the Cultural Heritage Observatory said that questions about corrupt practices were raised when it was discovered that the previous management had allowed the historic site to be dug into:

"They installed a series of infrastructures, including heavily prefabricated elements and technological structures with cables passing under the archaeological area," Irlando said.

"This caused some damage. Starting from here, from this building, an inquiry was opened concerning all tenders conducted over the last ten years," Irlando added.

Pompeii was devastated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. But the ash and rock preserved much of the city, providing a snapshot of life nearly 2,000 years ago.