Petition to Protect Hadrian's Villa

Dear fellow APA members,

Hadrian's Villa, the UNESCO World Heritage Site near Tivoli, is at risk. The City of Rome is under orders from the EU to close its biggest garbage dump at a place called Malagrotta. Since fall of 2011 the government has been looking for a new site to replace Malagrotta. Unbelievable as it may sound, the locality chosen is Corcolle, which is located at the doorstep of Hadrian's Villa.

As might be expected, the recommendation to use Corcolle has encountered stiff opposition. The City of Tivoli, the Ministry of Culture, and the Province of Rome have all gone on record with objections. Many civic groups and Italian citizens have also protested this irresponsible scheme. On February 26, 2012, an international petition was launched on the iPetitions website. In just over two weeks, we have collected more than 3,300 signatures. A list of cultural leaders and professors of classics, archaeology, and cultural heritage who have already signed can be seen on the website.

I write to urge all APA members to sign the petition now, before it is too late. Join people from all walks of life and from all four corners of the earth who have banded together to protest this unconscionable plan.

To grasp the seriousness of the situation and the lateness of the hour, read this translation of an article in Messaggero (Rome's main daily newspaper) of March 17, 2012. It should send a chill down our collective spine:

"GARBAGE EMERGENCY, A 'YES' OF THE TECHNICAL EXPERTS PUTS CORCOLLE AT RISK

"by Maruro Evangelisti

"March 17, 2012, ROME - Among the documents which the collaborators of the Commissioner for Waste Disposal, Prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro, are examining in meetings with the Director of the Ministry of the Environment and representatives of the Province of Rome, City of Rome, and Region of Lazio, there is a site plan. It shows the area of Corcolle (selected to be one of the new temporary garbage dumps) at a distance of 2 kilometers from Hadrian's Villa. The land parcel belongs to the corporation Pozzalana srl.

"In another site plan the boundaries of the UNESCO site of Hadrian's Villa are only 1200 meters away. And in the dossier of the staff of the Commissioner there is also a document dated 15 June 2010 from the Archaeological Superintendency of Rome in response to a request to install a rubbish dump in which the Superintendency affirms that the land is 'archaeologically sterile.' And the Superintendency expressed its approval.

"In contrast, in the course of the meeting of specialists which blocked the choice of Corcolle [i.e., several days ago--BF], the Cultural Ministry vetoed the choice of Corcolle.

"In a nutshell: for Pecoraro the candidacy of Corcolle has NOT been discarded. It is the only site among the seven under consideration that permits creation of the garbage dump by this autumn, if Corrado Clini, Minister of the Environment, gives his approval.

"Let's be clear: suppose that on March 22, 2012 the government says 'yes' to the areas chosen by Pecoraro (Corcolle and Riano). For Corcolle there is already a preliminary plan of action. Land expropriation and a call for bids will be set in motion. The winner will have to present a final proposal. An environmental impact report will have to be filed.

"Before October-November 2012 the new garbage dump [at Corcolle- Hadrian's Villa--BF] will not be ready. For that to happen, an additional month will be needed. If the options of Corcolle and Riano are rejected and if a different site is chosen, then the whole process starts over from the beginning and much more time is needed [to get Rome's new garbage dump up and running]. In that case, even an extension until December 2012 of the use of the current dump site at Malagrotta would not be enough."

In short, despite all the protests voiced to date, the committee of experts is still giving very serious consideration to the site of Corcolle-Hadrian's Villa.

Time is short. As the Messaggero article makes clear, March 22, 2012 is shaping up as the day for an up or down decision about the planned dump site at Corcolle. So on March 21, 2012, we will send the latest version of our petition to the decision-makers in Rome: Corrado Clini, Minister of the Environment; Gianni Alemanno, Rome's Mayor; Renata Polverini, the President of the Regione Lazio; Nicola Zingaretti, the President of the Provincia di Roma; and Prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro, the Extraordinary Commissioner for Refuse of the Regione Lazio. We will also deliver copies to the Italian embassies in various countries, including the United States. The more signatures we have by March 20, 2012, the better. So please sign if you have not yet done so; and, if you are already part of our cause, please redouble your efforts to send out the link to the signature page to colleagues, family, and friends.

Please act now to sign our petition, if you have not done so already. And please forward this message to your family, friends, and colleagues.

Thank you very much,

Bernard Frischer, APA member and professor of Art History and Classics, University of Virginia

SIGN OUR PETITION TO PROTECT HADRIAN'S VILLA AT:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protect-hadrians-villa/

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Scholars from all parts of the globe are eligible; stipends and travel expenses are provided. Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Fellowships are supported by the Center’s own endowment, private foundation grants, contributions from alumni and friends, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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