Heavy rain fells wall in Pompeii

A STRETCH of wall ringing an ancient house in Pompeii gave way yesterday after days of torrential rain, making it the latest structure to collapse at the world famous archaeological site.

Pompeii officials said that an inspection found that a 40ft long section of wall around a garden area near the House of the Moralist gave way in several points.

They said the extreme wetness of the soil brought down the wall in an area near the house that had not been excavated.

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Italy is struggling to preserve its immense archaeological wealth for future generations. A few weeks ago, it was embarrassed when a frescoed house in Pompeii, the Schola Armaturarum, where gladiators prepared for combat, was reduced to a pile of stones and dust in seconds.

The House of the Moralist was not affected by the wall's demise "and isn't at risk of collapse", Pompeii excavations director Antonio Varone said.

The Schola and the House of the Moralist are only a few steps from each other on one of Pompeii's main streets, which are usually thronged with some of the three million tourists who visit each year.

The House of the Moralist includes the remains of the homes of two families in the ancient city, which was buried by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.

Culture minister Sandro Bondi told ministry officials to keep monitoring, but warned against "useless alarmism".

A vote of no confidence in Mr Bondi, proposed by opposition parties after the gladiator house collapsed, had been due to be held in parliament on Monday, but other work delayed it.