ROME (AP) A German-born archaeologist has been chosen to be the next director of Pompeii, which still reveals its ancient mysteries centuries after a volcanic eruption destroyed the Roman city and is one of the most popular tourist spots popular from Italy.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced on Saturday that Gabriel Zuchtriegel had won over 43 other candidates for the post.
Zuchtriegel, 39, heads another ancient wonder in southern Italy, the Paestum and Velia National Archaeological Park. He took on the post after Italy in 2015 began considering foreign candidates for leadership positions in state museums, a shift intended to bring new ideas and leadership approaches to cultural institutions.
The Ministry of Culture noted that since 2020, Zuchtriegel was also an Italian citizen.
Archaeological excavations in the ruins of Pompeii have yielded astonishing finds in recent years, and large bands are awaiting further excavation. At the beginning of 2015, Zuchtriegel himself worked on a project involving the region of Pompeii.
He told Italian state RaiNews24 TV that his new job would be a big challenge.
The new director said Pompeii is also a place of life, referring to both recent exciting finds and cultural events that sometimes take place in the archaeological park south of Naples, Italy.
Pompeii, a Roman city destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, has experienced a renaissance after a difficult period. Parts of the excavated sites collapsed due to climatic erosion and lack of timely maintenance. Years of neglect and mismanagement have put Italy in danger of losing European Union funding.
But Italy rose to the challenge, making Pompeii safe for its visitors and preserving brilliantly hued frescoes and other unearthed wonders.
Pompeii is a superstar in the galaxy of Italian tourist sites. In 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged tourism in Italy, Pompeii attracted 4 million visitors.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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