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Crumbling Pompeii site in “state of emergency”

July 5, 2008

The Italian government declared a state of emergency at the Pompeii archaeological site on Friday to try to rescue one of the world’s most important cultural treasures from decades of neglect.

A cabinet statement said it would appoint a special commissioner for Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried by an eruption of the Vesuvius volcano in AD 79 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

“To call the situation intolerable doesn’t go far enough,” said Culture Minister Sandro Bondi, who took office in Silvio Berlusconi’s new conservative government in May.

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