UNESCO and Italy have agreed to collaborate on the restoration of the Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata, inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1997. International attention turned to the World Heritage site in late 2010, when torrential rains led to the collapse of several vestiges including the Schola Armaturarum (Gladiators' House) and the equally famous House of the Moralist.
According to the agreement, signed by Assistant Director-General for Culture, Francesco Bandarin on the morning of 29 November, UNESCO will provide expert advice to the Italian government on ways to improve the property's conservation, in keeping with the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee. UNESCO's contribution to the restoration will be financed by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.
"This agreement is the result of a long-standing cooperation between UNESCO and Italy in support of the conservation of World Heritage" said Mr Bandarin who also described the safeguarding of the site of Pompei as a "complex endeavor."
The agreement foresees collaboration over a period of nine months which may be extended.
The Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata, contains the vestiges of two flourishing cities and numerous villas that were engulfed in ashes and lava when Mount Vesuvius erupted on 24 August 79 AD, leaving the site buried until the beginning of excavations started in the middle of 18th centuries.