• Short Summary

    The Mayor of Rome is seeking international help from scientists and art experts to save the city's threatened monuments.

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    The Mayor of Rome is seeking international help from scientists and art experts to save the city's threatened monuments. Mayor Giulio Argan wrote to the Director-General of UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) asking the assistance of experts in many fields.

    SYNOPSIS: Even the powerful and so far enduring architecture of the Coliseum is threatened. The oval stadium measuring one-third of a mile (half a kilometre) around was inaugurated by Titus in AD 80. But now its walls are crumbling at an accelerating rate although attempts are being made to slow the process. Mayor Guilio Argan wants international help for the city, and the advice he seeks could help save many monuments like the pyramid of Gaius Cestius, where weeds now take root.

    Among the city's 300 monumental fountains, the Trevi fountain is one of the most impressive and is remembered for the legend that guarantees a return to Rome for anyone tossing coins into it. But it too is disintegrating, and more than a few coins are needed to halt the process.

    This column has become so weakened that barriers have been erected to keep visitors clear of falling masonry.

    Trajan's column, not far from the ruins of the roman Forum. Mayor Argan says expert advice rather than financial aid is needed to stop the decay suffered by thousands of historic monuments. A report published recently (December) blamed pollution and traffic vibrations, and warned that many status and columns in the city centre would disintegrate by the year 2000 unless urgent measures are taken.

    These reliefs on the Arch of Constantine have become almost unrecognisable. Most of them were snatched from earlier monuments when it was built in 315 to celebrate a victory. In the grounds of the Villa Borghese daubs of paint cause further damage to the display of decaying busts. One solution proposed is to ban all traffic from the city centre, but the mayor said this would require very weighty political and economic decisions.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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