Hadrian’s Villa—the real one, the 2nd century site of pilgrimages by architects, classicists, and any human interested in the origins of culture—has been selected as the site of a new garbage dump by a Berlusconi-appointed sanitation minister. That stinks!
An international effort with a petition already signed by the likes of Richard Meir and Salvatore Settis, former director of the Getty Research Center is fast making the rounds in order to stop the ruling before it gets final approval within a month. Here’s the best account in English of the situation prepared by the American Institute of Roman Culture.
The potential Corcolle dump serving Rome is less than a mile from the villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was placed on the 100 Most Endangered Sites 2006 list of the World Monuments Watch because of the rapid deterioration of some of its 30 buildings.
The selection of the Corcolle dump was affirmed when an alternative site was deemed too close to an intelligence agency building; five other sites were in the running but apparently rejected because they could not be up and running fast enough.
It is unclear why a local archeological society said the land just meters away from one of the richest archeological sites in history could be deemed “archaeologically sterile.”
The hope is that an international uproar will make Berlusconi’s garbage man realize he’s holding the wrong bag. Please sign.