Truth is stanger than fiction. Reuters in Rome today (March 2) reported that “a damaged wall of a tomb “at the ancient ruins of Pompeii, near Naples in southern Italy “collapsed. This news comes just as the disaster film hits theatres nationwide this weekend. “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,” added Reuters.
A city immortalized in time and film
The city of Pompeii was preserved under ash and is indeed an archaeological marvel for art historians, archaeologists, and tourists alike. I was lucky enough to visit the historic ruins, and it is amazing to see the kissing citizens of Pompeii totally preserved in ash in a lifelike pose that looks like a sculpture but is the actual ruins of two people suspended throughout eternity and time in that eternal kiss. The kiss makes a climactic scene in the film “Pompeii” at the very end of the film that opened this weekend in theatres nationwide this weekend, both in 2D and 3D.
Pompeii, added Reuters, which was “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 about six feet high and 12 feet long collapsed in the necropolis of Porta Nocera in the early hours of Sunday. “That followed a smaller collapse on Saturday of part of an arch supporting the Temple of Venus,” added Reuters. “Heavy rains were cited as the immediate cause. The Temple of Venus is in an area of the site which was already closed to visitors, while access to the necropolis has been closed following the collapse of the wall.”
Culture minister Dario Franceschini, appointed last month in the new government of Matteo Renzi, summoned officials responsible for the site to Rome for an "emergency meeting" on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
“He said he wanted a report on the reasons for the latest collapses and would verify routine maintenance at Pompeii as well as the progress of an ambitious restoration project launched last year with European Union funds,” added Reuters.
“Italian media have highlighted the contrast between the management of Pompeii and a successful exhibition about the ancient Roman city at the British Museum in London last year, which attracted record numbers of visitors,” according to the report. Pompeii, is a Unesco world heritage site. The city was home to about 13,000 citizens of Pompeii when the city and its people were completely covered under volcanic ash and dust. The force of the volcanic eruption was so powerful that there were no survivors and the historic site of the city of Pompeii “endured the force of an eruption equivalent to 40 atomic bombs,” according to the report.
The Pompeii site attracts more than two million tourists each year, making it one of Italy's most popular attractions and a must-see for any Staten Island tourist who visits Rome.
Showtimes for Staten Island
Pompeii the movie is now playing in Staten island at Atrium Stadium Cinemas at 680 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island at 1:55 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and UA All Staten Island Stadium 16 Theatre
2474 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, NY at 12:20 p.m., 3:00 p.m., p.m., 8:15 p.m.
Pompeii 3D is now showing at Atrium Stadium Cinemas at 680 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island
at 11:45a.m., 4:05 p.m., 8:25 p.m. and UA All Staten Island Stadium 16 Theatre
2474 Forest Avenue, Staten Island at 11:25 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:15 p.m., and 9:50 p.m.