London, July 4 : If reports are to be believed, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii is crumbling away due to poor investment and damage caused by tourists.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the attraction's 2.5 million visitors per year are plagued by bogus tour guides, rubbish strewn streets and poor facilities.
An article in the Corriere Della Sera newspaper said that the city, which was buried in AD 79 by an eruption from the nearby volcano Vesuvius, was losing its artefacts either through bad management or casual looting by visitors.
Antonio Irlando, a regional councillor on artistic patrimony, told the newspaper, "Every year, more than 150 square metres of fresco and plaster work are lost at Pompeii because of poor maintenance." "Tourists also take away items that they find on the floor and in the ruins and what they can put into their rucksacks," he added.
Corriere added that much of Pompeii was also used as an illegal rubbish dump thanks to the crisis in nearby Naples with tyres, fridges and mattresses littering parts of the ancient site.
According to Professor Andrew Wallace Hadrill, director of the British School of Rome, who is leading a dig at nearby Herculaneum, which was buried in the same eruption, the problems with Pompeii have been known about for 10 years.
"These are just superficial problems but the whole site is very difficult to maintain when you think it has been through an eruption, excavations and now has more than 2.5 million people a year passing through it," he said.
"Pompeii needs a lot more investment into it and to give credit to the local superintendency which overlooks the site they are trying their best," he added.