Conservationists Fight To Save Pompeii


The ancient town of Pompeii was destroyed in the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Archaeologists started restoring the site in the 18th century and since then millions of tourists have visited it. But now Pompeii seems to be in danger again, this time threatened by the lethargy of the Italian government.

Historians point out that an increasing part of Pompeii is in danger and the Italian government does not have the staff and personnel to do something about it.

The European Union has now started spending over 100 million dollars on a campaign to rescue Pompeii. However the police have cracked down on the project and inspections have shown that some companies are trying to charge high costs. There are reports that the local mafia may be involved in the project. The site lies in an area where organized crime is among the highest in the world. Pompeii has been supervised by a number of special officials appointed directly by the government; however corruption charges have always existed.

Pompeii - The Temple of Venus

Pompeii - The Temple of Venus - Lord Pheasant

According to those working on the site, Pompeii has not received enough money for the last 50 years. Funds are not adequate to keep the current projects going. In addition strikes have led to work stoppages and guides often get bribes from tourists to show them places that are normally closed to the public. The site’s management has also hired unskilled workers, now it wants to employ more trained archaeologists.

Pompeii has also been hit by extreme weather and needs more money because some of its ancient buildings are crumbling. Ten houses are always open to the public. Conservationists are constantly working on restoring walls and damaged frescoes. The new management will be concentrating on restoring certain monuments of Pompeii rather than conserving the overall area. There are also attempts to sell the site to a private sponsor in order to raise more money for preservation.

About 2.3 million tourists visit the site every year. Many of them are passengers that travel to Pompeii during a one day stopover with a cruise ship.


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  • according to = as said by …
  • adequate = enough
  • ancient = old
  • appoint = select
  • archaeologist = person who studies ancient societies and digs out what is left of their buildings and monuments
  • attempt = try
  • bribe = money that you give someone illegally, so that they will do something for you
  • campaign = action, movement
  • certain = special
  • charge = demand
  • conservationist = people who want to preserve or save a place
  • constantly = always
  • crack down = to be very strict with a situation and punish people who do something against the law, or put them into prison
  • cruise ship = large ship that people have holidays on
  • crumble= break into small pieces
  • current = existing
  • destroy = damage completely, ruin
  • employ = give work to
  • eruption = outbreak
  • fresco = painting made on the wall when the plaster is still wet
  • funds = money for a certain project
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • guide = someone who has the job of showing tourists around a place
  • hire = employ; give work to
  • hit = strike
  • however = but
  • in addition = also
  • increasing = growing
  • involve = have something to do with
  • lethargy = slow-moving; having no energy to do something
  • local =in the area
  • official = person who is in a high position in an organization
  • one-day stopover = stay at a place for a day, then move on
  • organized crime = large and powerful organization of criminals, like the Mafia
  • overall area = the whole place
  • point out = state; show
  • preservation = conservation; saving and restoring a place
  • public = for everyone to see or visit
  • raise = collect
  • receive = get
  • rescue = save
  • restore = save, rebuild
  • site = place
  • staff =people who work at a place
  • stoppage = stop something that is taking place
  • supervise = control, manage
  • threaten = to be likely to destroy or harm something
  • trained = qualified
  • unskilled = not trained; without a special training