Has another Pompeii wall collapsed?
The short answer is 'no'.
By chance I am on the site of Pompeii for the weekend. It is now swarming with more journalists than tourists, and all (it seems) with a determination to hype another collapse, another Pompeian disaster. That is to say, they are here with a determined misunderstanding of what has just happened -- or with a drive to use any damage to the site as a stick with which to beat Berlusconi.
Actually, I am usually quite happy to beat Berlusconi, but the fact is that this latest melodrama only serves to make the job much more difficult for those in the archaeological services here, who are doing their level best to keep the place up and running. (This weekend curators and other staff have been fielding tv crews, not getting on with the real job.)
So far as I can tell, what happened is this. There was an absolute downpour last night, in the course of which some stones were dislodged from a relatively fragile (and not very well built) stretch of wall near the Nola gate. A custode entered this damage rather loosely in the incident book -- and (we can only speculate how and why) that report got to the press, and it soon became a new "wall collapse". The carabinieri arrived and everything in the area (including, let me confess, where I want to go) was shut off.
I've had a look around so far as I can, and asked a good few questions ... and I don't think that it was any such thing as a 'collapse'. Sure, some blocks were shifted in a torrential storm; but it really wasn't the destruction of a priceless masterpiece.
Who'd be a curator at Pompeii, I wonder.