Landslide smashes into wall at Italy's historic Pompeii site

Heavy rains have provoked landslide at the ancient Italian site of Pompeii, partially collapsing a retaining wall and sending rubble into a garden at the house of Severus.

Italian officials on Wednesday said the affected area falls within the "Great Pompeii" joint EU-Italian restoration project and had been already closed to the public.

Pompeii, the ancient Roman city encased in volcanic ash near Mount Vesuvius, south of Naples, has suffered numerous collapses of walls and buildings in recent years, often due to rain. The problems have attracted widespread attention to Italy's difficulties in maintaining its cultural treasures.

Pompeii officials said firefighters were assessing the ancient site to determine areas at particular risk for collapse in a bid to shore them up.