Recently, I read an article in the Italian version of National Geographic entitled Archeologia: i 10 siti più a rischio (Archaeology : the ten sites most at risk). It is a series of questions posed to Salvatore Settis, a dean at the University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore. In the article, he sounds the alarm that many of Italy’s greatest monuments are in danger because they are simply not taken care of. In Rome and Lazio, he cites three:
- Villa Adriana
- Largo Argentina
- Domus Aurea
With the current economic crisis, money available to restore and take care of these monuments is simply not there, and, as Prof. Settis points out, there are political factors, too. As tourists to Italy, it is important that we take great care in disturbing as little as possible these great monuments of history. Many of these monuments, according to Prof. Settis, are being damaged by traffic and the pollution that it causes — think about doing your part when in Rome by making use of public transport or walking. Avoid renting cars if you can and try to avoid contributing to the problem. Rome is really best explored on foot, and there are clean ways of getting around the city.
As a tourist, you can do your part by treating these sites with respect and care. The best thing that you can do as tourists is to visit and enjoy these sites — don’t give the Italian government any more excuses to cut funding to one of the most important historical legacies in the world. The cultural legacy left is not just an Italian one but one that is important to us all.