Located at the base of a now dormant volcano, the ancient city of Pompeii is one of the most visited spots in Italy.
This incredible city, active archeological site, and invaluable piece of history always seems to be under constant threat, however. The site has to content with looting tourists, the elements, the Italian mafia (archeologists working at the site often receive death threats), and lack of funds for restoration.
Italy has the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites of any other country, and therefore has a lot of pressure to spend money on keeping these sites restored and safe for tourists to visit. Pompeii is a massive site that is still being studied and requires constant restoration.
Recently, UNESCO surveyed the site and determined that there had been extensive vandalism and structural damage, warning that measures would have to be taken to curb the damage.
Many of the site's relics (mostly frescos that were disintegrating due to exposed walls) have already been moved to museums, but larger buildings, mosaics and columns are still exposed.
In 2014, the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation project (PSP) began a 10-year, 10 million Euro plan that draws on resources of international researchers working in Germany. The Italian government is also doing its part, implementing a rescue project that is being jointly funded by the European Union.
Both plans will involve widespread restoration, work to develop long-term preventative solutions, will train researchers on new methods, expose never-before-excavated portions of the city, and boost the number of visitors to more than 2.6 million a year.
How can you help save Pompeii?
Visit the site!
Your admission fee will help with restoration. When you are visiting, ensure that you do not climb on the ruins (as tempting as it may be), and NEVER take anything home with you.