Walls Come Tumbling Down


[Listening to: Broken Stones - Paul Weller - Stanley Road [UK] (03:18)]

Following more days of torrential rain, now Nero's palace, which only opened to the public in 1999 after 20 years of excavation and restoration, is the latest site in Rome threatened with collapse:
BBC: Rain closes Nero's golden palace
Telegraph: Water, not fire, threatens Nero's palace
Wanted in Rome: Domus Aurea closed.

But there's more to this than a simple deluge of rain (to my mind at least). As one of the articles says, the problem was exacerbated by poor maintenance in the Colle Oppio park. The Colle Oppio was for years left in a state of abandon, and only in recent years was any money spent on the park to clean it up and make it a park the general public would enter. In 2003 Kurdish refugees and asylum seekers living in the park more or less made it a no go zone for the general public. However it appears that the work, once finished, was not kept up.

The other angle not covered is the recent trend of excavating ancient sites deeper underground rather than expanding existing archaeological sites on the surface. It was only in January 2005 that a 2 metre mosaic, 13 metres underground, was unveiled to the public. It was reached by a group of speleologists under the Colle Opio. Similiarly, in Pompeii a pre-Roman temple was discovered at the front entrance. The decision in Pompeii to dig down came in part from lack of funds to clear spaces above-ground. The estimates on the amount of money needed to excavate the entire Colle Opio are €500 million. Now however, the Domus Aurea will be closed for at least two years and the emergency repairs will cost between €5 - €20 million. The one thing that no one has mentioned is that it would have been cheaper to spend the €5 million on keeping the park. Cause and effect....
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