The Ancient Roman city of Pompeii was “buried by a volcanic eruption in AD 79 and was not rediscovered until the 18th Century.” There is fear that this once lost city could be at risk of becoming lost yet again. Over the years, Pompeii has suffered from damage due to inclement weather, neglect, looting, underinvestment, and mismanagement. Many aspects of the ruins are currently in jeopardy. According to Antonio Irlando, about 1,600 square feet of frescos are lost and approximately 3,000 stones disintegrate annually as a result of insufficient maintenance. As one of Italy’s major tourist attractions, the loss and damage of aspects of this historic city are “intolerable,” and in 2008 the government had acknowledged this as a “state of emergency.”
The House of the Gladiators, known as the Schola Armaturarum, collapsed due to heavy rains in 2010. The damage to this archaeological site has been called “an irreparable wound” and “a shame for Italy” by the president of Italy’s National Association of Archaeologists, Tsao Cevoli, and by the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano, respectively. The additional funding and efforts enacted to improve preservation of Pompeii, two years before the collapse of Schola Armaturarum, have been viewed as being poorly and unsuccessfully conducted. The recent damage to the site has raised “concerns about Italy’s state support for its archaeological heritage.”
Preservation of Pompeii’s history and ancient roman heritage are of utmost importance. The volcanic ash had “preserved many of the city’s buildings, frescos, silverware, mosaics and other artefacts,” and now Google is preserving the ancient city digitally with their “Street View” feature. The antiquated Roman city can be rediscovered once again by Internet users who can “now walk the streets of Pompeii without dusting up their shoes with the volcanic ash.” The Associated Press reported in 2009 that the Google application “allows Internet users to view panoramic street-level pictures” of “the avenues, villas, temples and theaters of the ancient town,” preserving the image of Pompeii.