Government blamed for Pompeii building collapse

Archaeologists, commentators and opposition politicians have accused Italy's government of neglect and mismanagement over the collapse of the 2,000-year-old "House of the Gladiators" in the ruins of ancient Pompeii.

The stone house, measuring about 860 square feet, collapsed just after dawn on Saturday. The structure was believed to be where gladiators gathered, trained and used as a club house before going to battle in a nearby amphitheatre in the city that was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Art historians for years have complained that the archaeological sites at Pompeii were in a state of decay.

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La Repubblica called the collapse a "world scandal" and blamed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for putting unqualified people in charge and for cutting funds for Italy's vast cultural heritage.