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Ancient Roman structures at risk

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It seems that many of the historic homes of ancient Rome's rulers are in danger, due to ground subsidence and rain seepage, according to the Italian news agency ANSA (above photo from ANSA.)

In a report today, it quoted a Rome official, who spoke after a tunnel over Nero's Golden House collapsed Tuesday.

"The real emergency is on the Palatine," said Domus Aurea Commissioner Antonello Vodret, referring to the first and greatest of Rome's hills, where the city was born and where its emperors later built their residences, ANSA reported.

"Unless we get money soon, the whole hill could crumble," Vodret was quoted as saying. About 150 of these historic houses have not been protected against water, according to Vodret.

Archaeologist Andrea Carandini told ANSA that the situation with some of Ancient Rome's sites was so bad that "collapses have become a nightmare for me."

Tuesday's collapse was "dramatic proof that there is a real emergency in Rome," he said, adding that it was lucky no one died when the tunnel roofing came down in what has been used since the early 20th century as a storage area for artefacts.

The collapse of the tunnel section of Hadrian's Baths, on top of the Golden House, also hit a tiny section of one of Rome's oldest walls, ANSA reported.

Emergency workers said that a "couple of fragments" from the Aurelian Walls (271-275 AD) fell down, and a piece hit a passing car, but there were no injuries.

ANSA reports that the Palatine hill is so shaky and riddled with rain-swollen holes that some experts think it could all come down in a heap.

Many of its villas, temples and residences have been closed because of subsidence - although the House of Augustus reopened last year.

Despite its remarkable heritage, the Palatine is often ignored by Rome's ten million annual visitors, partly due to the steep climb up from the Forum, said ANSA.

Comments (5)

Really?! The Palatine was one of the sites I wanted to see most when I first visited Rome, after all, it was the site where the wealthy and powerful built their houses in the ancient days.
This just saddens me that such historic sites are at risk, I sure hope officials act soon to prevent the collapse of more important structures.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, I'm really sorry to hear about the news. I hope something can be done to resolve the ground subsidence and rain seepage problems in Rome. There's so much history behind these sites and structures I'd hate to see any more of them collapse. It's a good thing no one was hurt in this incident.

Barb Cabot:

I hope something can be done to stabilize this historic site. Sad that it has been preserved for so long and now is in great jeopardy along with who knows how many other important structures of the past.

Wow, that sounds so dire. I'm glad no one was hurt or killed in that tunnel.

This is so sad to read and also very scary. Even though it would be a pity to deny access, I would think the area should be closed until they are sure it is no longer in danger of collapse.

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