Newly restored ruins in the ancient city of Pompeii, with intricate mosaic tiles, bathhouses and even graffiti were officially unveiled to the public on Thursday after a lengthy restoration process.
The project, including six restored homes, is the result of a 2012 partnership between the EU’s European Commission and Italian authorities.
The partnership spent 150 million Euros for 12 projects geared towards consolidating “high risk” structures, building a drainage system, and restoring artifacts at the UNESCO World Heritage site situated near Naples, Italy.
Pompeii is one of most famous historical sites in the world. In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius buried the town and its unsuspecting inhabitants in hot rock, volcanic ash and noxious gas. Those who did not escape, suffocated or burned. Some were covered in several feet of ash and preserved and fossilized in the process. The resulting archeological record is remarkable. Its furnished rooms, paintings and even plaster casts of deceased inhabitants offer a detailed picture of life during the Early Roman Empire.
But over the years, flooding, excess tourism and neglect have contributed to the deterioration of the site, according to experts. Pompeii has made international headlines because of decaying or collapsing ruins and labor disputes that prevented tourists from visiting the site. Collapsing structures have been attributed to poor maintenance.
Some have been critical of the Italian government for what they say is a general lack of attention to the country’s ancient sites. Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world – ranging from museums to monuments to archaeological sites like Pompeii – many of which, experts say, need serious attention.