There are fears for the future of Rome’s ancient Aurelian walls after chunks collapsed on Tuesday. A major street was closed in the Italian capital after bricks from the nearly 2000-year old wall fell down.
The city’s archaeological authorities want to save the historic treasure, but they claim protection and restoration is limited due to poor financial resources, according to the Italian daily, Il Messaggero.
Authorities told the daily that whenever chunks of the walls collapse, the area is usually fenced off, but restoration work is almost never completed due to a lack of funds.
“Their maintenance is a recurrent problem for Rome. We have a huge restoration project ready to be implemented but do not have enough funds to carry it out,” said Umberto Broccoli, head of archaeology at Rome’s city council.
“All the walls…must be continuously monitored and kept under control. That is why we are waiting anxiously for the ‘Rome-Capital’ reform.”
Broccoli was referring to a recently approved law on fiscal federalism which would provide funding to the city of Rome to finance the restoration process.
Until recently, Italy’s central government provided the funds to restore tourist attractions.
The ancient city of Rome was once contained by the 10-metre Servian Wall which was built in the early 4th century B.C. When barbarian tribes invaded the city during the Third century A.D. the Aurelian walls were built to provide additional protection.
The walls, built between 271 and 275 AD during the reign of emperor Aurelian, once surrounded the capital’s seven hills and ran for 19 kilometres.
They were considered a valuable defensive measure for the city until the late 19th century.