Pompei (Italy) (AFP)
Three Roman domus, including "The house of chaste lovers", closed for 40 years, reopened to the public on Tuesday in Pompeii, a famous archaeological site near Naples where an important campaign of works initiated five years ago ended.
Pompeii's maintenance and security works, 75% of which were financed by European funds, aimed in particular to limit the site's exposure to bad weather, to reinforce buildings from the Roman era and to restore ancient frescoes, according to the direction of the Archaeological Park.
Closed after an earthquake in 1982, "La maison des chastes amants" is the only domus (dwelling from Roman antiquity) with a second floor as well preserved, according to the Park.
It had withstood the historic eruption of Vesuvius, which had buried Pompeii in 79 AD, but had failed to collapse during the deadly earthquake of November 1980 in the neighboring region of Irpinia.
"Pompeii is a story of rebirth and redemption. Before, it was synonymous with collapses, queues for tourists and inability to spend public funds," said the Italian Minister of Culture. Dario Franceschini came to visit the restored site on Wednesday.
"Now it's the opposite, it's a model in the world, recognized by Unesco and the European Union itself," added the minister to the press.
In addition to "The house of chaste lovers", two other domus have been returned to the public: "The house of the Europe boat" (Casa della nave Europa) and "The villa of the orchard" (La Casa del Frutteto), covered with magnificent frescoes reflect the fruit tree garden of the house of a wealthy winegrower.
Pompeii is the second most visited tourist site in Italy, behind the Colosseum in Rome, with nearly four million visitors in 2019.
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