Recent changes enacted by Italy are stripping away protections from Italy's historic past, according to archaeologists and preservation groups. The new laws are part of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's plan to "unblock" Italy's economy by making it easier to build and to run businesses.
Some may view it as a balancing of priorities, but Renzi's words in August 2014 sound more absolute: "Building projects will never be stopped again for archaeological finds...we are full to the brim."
And there's some truth to the last part; Italy's history has been rich in civilizations, one after the other, including Roman, Greek, Etruscan, Lombard, Celtic and more.
Archaeological superintendents have had the power, for the past 200 years, to evaluate when anything is uncovered, and if necessary, stop or modify construction to preserve important heritage. Opponents claim that this has resulted in paralysis as anything old can stop a project.
The new law gives the superintendents 60 days to complete their evaluation. That might seem like a reasonable time, except that there are so few archaeologists on staff, so that time can run out before an evaluation even begins. For instance, there is only one archaeologist for all of Umbria, the main base of Etruscan civilization.
For a more detailed article from TheLocal.it, click HERE. For an earlier article on how one Italian town has struggled for 15 years with a Roman theatre found under a site that is now neither being built nor preserved, click HERE. The photo above, from Corriere della Sera, shows the ancient theatre.