Italy says it will unblock 2m euros (£1.6m) in emergency funding to save the ancient city of Pompeii, after flooding caused walls to collapse.
A number of structures, including the Temple of Venus and Roma, were damaged by heavy rainfall on Sunday and Monday.
The decay prompted calls for action from the European Union and the United Nations.
The site, where volcanic ash smothered a Roman city in AD79, has suffered slow degradation for many years.
It is one of the world’s greatest archaeological treasures. Read more.
ROME — Italy’s culture minister demanded explanations on Sunday after more collapses this weekend in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii raised concerns about the state of one of the world’s most treasured archaeological sites.
Pompeii, preserved under ash from a volcanic eruption in 79 A.D. and rediscovered in the 18th century, has been hit by a series of collapses in recent months and years which have sparked international outcry over the neglect of the site.
Officials said the wall of a tomb around 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) high and 3.5 meters long collapsed in the necropolis of Porta Nocera in the early hours of Sunday. Read more.
Federal investigators on Friday plan to seize an ancient Roman sculpture from a Queens warehouse on behalf of Italian officials who say there is evidence the marble statue of a reclining, half-clad woman valued at $4 million was looted from Italy decades ago.
United States officials said that they began tracking the life-size, 1,700-pound statue last year after they were alerted that it had been exhibited for sale at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan by Phoenix Ancient Art.
In a complaint filed on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, the authorities said the sculpture had served as the lid on an 1,800-year-old sarcophagus of a Roman noblewoman, and was probably looted in the 1970s or early 1980s. Officials said they did not know when the statue entered the United States or where precisely it came from in Italy. Read more.
As Allied Forces fought the Nazis for control of Europe, an unlikely unit of American and British art experts waged a shadow campaign
Trapani! Trapani, don’t you see?” Capt. Edward Croft-Murray exclaimed as the skyline of the Sicilian coastal town first appeared through the porthole of the Allied aircraft. Sitting next to him, Maj. Lionel Fielden, who had been drifting off into daydream for much of the flight from Tunis, opened his eyes to the landscape below. “And there, below us,” Fielden later wrote, “swam through the sea a crescent of sunwashed white houses, lavender hillsides and rust red roofs, and a high campanile whose bells, soft across the water, stole to the mental ear. No country in the world has, for me, the breathtaking beauty of Italy.”
It was the fall of 1943. A couple of months earlier, the Sicilian landings of July 10 had marked the beginning of the Allied Italian campaign. The two British officers, who had met and become instant friends during the recently concluded push to drive the Germans from North Africa, were assigned to the Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories (AMGOT), which took over control of Italy as the country was being liberated by the Allies. Read more.
Once the “shame of Italy,” the ancient warren of natural caves in Matera may be Europe’s most dramatic story of rebirth
You know that travelers’ tastes have come full circle when hotel guests are clamoring to live like troglodytes. In the southern Italian town of Matera, I followed a sinuous laneway down into a haunting district known as the Sassi (Italian for the “stones”), where some 1,500 cave dwellings honeycomb the flanks of a steep ravine.
First occupied in the Paleolithic Age, the myriad natural caves were gradually burrowed deeper and expanded into living spaces by peasants and artisans throughout the classical and medieval eras. Today, these underground residences are being reinhabited by Italians, and staying in one of the Sassi’s cave hotels has become one of Europe’s most exotic new experiences. Read more.
Italy is demanding the immediate return of a cache of antiquities stored in London and warning that if it does not receive information about the status of the collection within 30 days, it may sue the firm responsible for the objects.
Italy’s state legal counsel was planning to send, this month, a final warning to the liquidator responsible for the assets of the disgraced antiquities dealer Robin Symes, who was declared bankrupt in 2003. Italy’s letter includes a detailed list of around 700 ancient objects, including sculptures and jewellery, that Italy is claiming because it believes they were taken from its territory illegally. The action is taking place amid rumours that the liquidator, the British firm BDO, is selling the material in the Middle East on behalf of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which is attempting to recoup tax owed by Symes’s firm, Robin Symes Ltd, which is now in liquidation. Read more.
A few fragmentary bones thought to be the remains of Neanderthals actually belonged to medieval Italians, new research finds.
The study is a reanalysis of a tooth, which was found in in a cave in northeastern Italy along with a finger bone and another tooth. Originally, researchers identified these scraps as belonging to Neanderthals, the early cousins of humans who went extinct about 30,000 years ago. Instead, the new study reveals the bones to belong to modern Homo sapiens.
There’s no telling whom the original owner of the teeth and finger was, but the cave where they were discovered was both a hermitage, or dwelling place, and the site of a grisly medieval massacre. Read more.
A three-year-old excavation at the graveyard of the Abbey of St. Peter in Lucca, Italy, is yielding something more than archaeologists initially expected, and they’re not just talking about bones and other grave features and artifacts. While excavating, they stumbled upon a mass grave of human remains that contain evidence of an ancient cholera outbreak.
Led by Giuseppe Vercellotti and Clark Larson from Ohio State University and Hendrik Poinar from McMaster University, the researchers at the site have collected samples of ancient DNA from both humans and bacteria, hoping to find answers to questions about how past epidemics, such as the bubonic plague, developed, spread and devastated historic human populations in Europe. Read more.