5 July 2008

Pompeii, shame of Italy

Dear Readers,

On the most popular Italian new papers, at least on the on-line version, the following news has not been adequately reported. Hereafter I post a reportage realized by BBC about the current status of the archaeological area of the old roman city of Pompeii.
Click here to watch the reportage.

Pompeii lies in a state of total abandonment and the news has been finally broadcast all over the world.
But what happens right now so special, in Pompeii?? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Pompeii has always been in such ignoble conditions since nothing serious has been proposed along the last 50 years to protect and preserve one of the most important world wide heritage.
Nevertheless, the BBC reportage is worth to be watched, since it, at least, spreads the news out of the Italian borders and makes the entire world aware of it!

I was born in Salerno, a city about 40km south from Pompeii.
Since I was a child, my father and grand father taught me about the beauty of archeology, and since I used to spend my holidays in Salerno, I had the opportunity to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum several times.

The last visit goes back to the summer of 1986. At this point in time I started to notice that there were clear signs of degradation and abandonment. My eyes can still remember that in almost all the Roman houses there were graffiti about everything: from the declaration of love between lovers until the support of some football club. In Pompeii you could really find everything, except protection and preservation of the monument. Since than, in order to avoid feeling sad about Pompeii, I decided not to visit it any more.

Pompeii is something unique, as many other monuments of Italy. And as many other places or heritages of our glorious past, is not preserved and enhanced in order teach our children about our history.

This particular relationship with cultural heritage is very common in Italy. Perhaps we have too many monuments and we do not realize their importance; perhaps we are lazy and we do not want to do anything to protect them; perhaps we are so disorganized and these are the consequences.
No matter what is the cause! What matter is that Italy is not allowed to destroy his history, since it represents one of the most important part of the western history.

To change the current situation is obviously not effortless, in particular referring to the current modern Italian society, where everything counts, except what should really counts.

The national government, the local government, and the people living in that area, instead of acting to modify the current status, instead of working all together to recover the lost time, instead of planning and basing their future on the preservation of a heritage that can also represent a enormous source of incoming, instead of all these possible approaches, their solution is to do nothing!

I thought several time how we could preserve and protect our monuments, and in particular these kind of places. I believe that one possibility to save Pompeii, Herculaneum and the other archaeological areas existing in Italy is to make them profitable for the local inhabitants. If the local economy was based on the archaeological excavations, Pompeii would be preserved forever by the local people, without any help, advice or suggestion from the national government!

To realize it, we must create, around the old roman city, a network capable to welcome and inform the tourist visiting Pompeii at the same level of any other famous place. If we can make that, we will probably dramatically improve the current status!

At the moment, there is almost no organization: The touristic point are something still rare, the information in English are almost always unavailable, and a guided tour in English is just impossible to get.

If the archaeological area of Pompeii does not generate any profit, it makes it something useless to the eyes of the people leaving in the near area. I can bet that I can find someone right now in Pompeii still wondering why instead of preserving this old, useless houses, we do not build some casino or houses for the inhabitants.

Of course, this approach is valid for any other abandoned or degraded monument. A wide use of it would allow to make profitable any place, and more important will let our children to fully enjoy our wonderful cultural heritage.

Waiting for your comments, I wish you all the best!
Antonio

1 comment:

myabruzzohome said...

I cannot believe that anyone would ever look on Pompeii as 'useless' but I broadly back what you say and can sympathise with your plight.

We have only had a 5 year assosiation with Italy but in that time have seen so much to sadden us and drive us to despair.We see all around us Italians who seen to have turned their back on this magnificent country.

Where is the national pride that I feel,when I walk past to Tower of London or drive past Stonehenge?Are Italians today only concerned with making money ang buying stuff?Are they no longer proud to live in a country so full of natural and man-made treasures?

True Italy must be one of the most badly governed country in the world and I can see how this situation is creating a feeling of apathey amongst Italians.However the rest of Europe and the world cannot just sit back and let Pompeii degrade,we must all act as soon as possible to show the Italian government that this is something we cannot allow!