House of the Gladiators Collapses

I just read that the House of the Gladiator’s in ancient Pompeii recently collapsed. Normally I might make note of something like this and intellectually mark how sad a loss this is for history and the preservation of Italian culture. This time there is much more of an impact because it was less than a month ago that my wife and I had traveled to Pompeii and were able to wander the streets ourselves.

The House of the Gladiators was not one of the locations within Pompeii that we had a chance to see. Instead we saw the House of the Small Fountain. We walked through most of the ruins but there were many areas that were off limits to the public. Based on the pictures online I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to see it. The mosaics that appeared to be within the house were amazing.

There seems to be some blame going around. According to art historians and archeologists the ruins have been in decay for quite a while and maintenance has been an issue. Pompeii is one of the most popular sites in Italy with over two million visitors a year. With that number of people visiting and tourism being Italy’s largest business it seems like taking care of these sites should be a high priority.

Word now is that there are other buildings within Pompeii in danger of collapsing. Having been there and seen the ruins it saddens me to know that there may come a time when this site and others like it are lost to neglect and decay. I only hope that the Italian government does something soon before the site is lost.

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November 2010
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