Conservation Italy

Herculaneum gains ground

Buffer zone to be created with the purchase of a 5,200 sq. m plot of land near the archaeological site

The ancient town will get some much needed room to breathe

Herculaneum, Pompeii’s “little sister”, will soon be given some much needed breathing space thanks to funds from the EU and the Herculaneum Conservation Project, a collaboration between the US-based Packard Humanities Institute and the regional heritage authority.

A buffer zone has been created with the purchase of a 5,200 sq. m plot of land to the northwest of the archaeological site. The institute contributed €3m towards the €5.8m cost, with the remainder coming from the EU. The institute signed an agreement with the Italian ministry of culture, the ministry of territorial cohesion (regional development) and the city authority, with the aim of demolishing the decaying modern buildings that stand on the plot and integrating it into the adjacent archaeological park.

Carlo Trigilia, the minister of territorial cohesion, believes the agreement is a “reference model” thanks to the collaboration of a private investor such as the Packard Institute. In Italy, public-private collaborations such as the restoration of the Colosseum, sponsored by the luxury shoe brand Tod’s, are usually viewed with suspicion.

David Packard, the president of the institute, has invested around €20m in the 14-year-old Herculaneum Conservation Project. This has contributed to improved visitor access, including re-opening the town’s main street.

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