The United Nations cultural agency and Italy announced today that they have agreed to work together to restore Pompeii, the famed Roman-era archaeological site that was badly damaged by torrential rains late last year.
In a statement issued in Paris, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said it would collaborate with Italian authorities over the next nine months on the restoration.
Several key buildings, including the Schola Armaturarum (Gladiators’ House) and the House of the Moralist, collapsed in November 2010, sparking international concern about the state of the site.
The Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata have been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1997. The site contains the vestiges of two cities and numerous villas that were buried in lava and ashes when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D and were only discovered after excavations in the 18th century.
Under the agreement signed today, UNESCO will provide expert advice to the Italian Government on how to improve the conservation of the site, in keeping with the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, which manages the List. Italy will finance the restoration.
Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, described the safeguarding of the Pompeii site as a “complex endeavour” and said the agreement was the result of long-standing cooperation between the agency and Italy.