pompeii
The European Commission has called upon Italian authorities to save the UNESCO Pompeii site.

Italian authorities are not doing enough to save the crumbling ancient town of Pompeii despite receiving €78 million from the European Commission.

The commission has said authorities should do more to preserve the historical town, which was buried in 79AD by a blanket of volcanic ash that erupted from Mount Vesuvius.

Lava
Mount Vesuvius virtually destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD but the lava helped to preserve many bodies. Flickr/Creative Commons

An ancient wall at the Temple of Venus collapsed at the weekend following heavy rains and is the latest in a series of structural problems, including the partial collapse of the House of the Gladiators in November 2010.

The €78 million in EU funding that has been diverted to Pompeii was part of a total investment of €105 million.

The money, which has been managed by Italian authorities, was for long-term, high-tech structural works in the most at-risk areas.

It was also allocated for a water drainage system planned for a site overlooking the ancient buildings.

But European commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has called upon local, regional and national authorities in Italy to ensure that the ancient city of Pompeii is protected from further damage.

He said: "We work closely with the Italian authorities and have provided €78 million in funding from the EU Regional Funds for Pompeii since 2007.

"But the local, regional and national authorities must do more and coordinate better to ensure that the money being spent is used effectively and that Pompeii is saved for future generations."