Fresh collapse at Pompeii sparks more concern

Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:45pm EST
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By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Another part of the 2,000-year-old Roman-era site at Pompeii crumbled on Tuesday, provoking attacks on the Italian government from critics who say two collapses in a month underscore a need for urgent action.

Officials said a seven-meter (yard) long section of a modern retaining wall in the garden of the "House of the Moralist" at the archaeological site collapsed after heavy rains.

The collapse was a new headache for the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which will face a no-confidence motion on other issues on December 14 that could lead to early elections.

The opposition has demanded Berlusconi's culture minister Sandro Bondi resign, adding to the tensions ahead of the vote.

The wall, made of tuffo stone and mortar, was part of a perimeter area of the house complex, which is also known as the House of Epidius Hymenaeus.

The house itself was not affected by the collapse and the wall was not ancient. It was built after World War Two to repair the original structure, which had been bombed in the conflict.

Bondi, who first came under pressure to resign after the collapse on November 6 of part of the "House of the Gladiators," tried to play down the significance of Tuesday's break up.

"We need to put what happened into context and avoid useless alarmism," he said in a statement.   Continued...

<p>A long section of a rustic retaining wall in the garden of the House of the Moralist is seen after collapsing following heavy rains in Pompeii November 30, 2010. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca</p>