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Rome (AFP) May 25, 2012
The Italian government on Friday ditched plans to build an emergency rubbish dump near Hadrian's Villa, the famous emperor's summer residence near Rome, which had sparked outrage in Italy.
"The garbage dump will not be built," said the Under-Secretary for the Environment, Tullio Fanelli.
Environment Minister Corrado Clini confirmed the decision after the cabinet debated the environmental and cultural consequences of building a tip near the villa, which was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
Italy's Culture Minister Lorenzo Ornaghi had threatened to resign over the plans, while a "Save Hadrian's Villa" Internet petition had gathered over 6,000 signatures from eminent historians and archaeologists.
Rome's main dump at Malagrotta was filled to capacity years ago and the government has struggled to find a suitable replacement for the capital.
In a statement, the cabinet warned of an "extreme urgency to find a site for the tip and find a solution to the problem of managing the capital's refuse."
Hadrian's villa is already struggling due to a lack of funds that has made it impossible to keep the site in good repair.
The historic site at Tivoli, 24 kilometres (15 miles) from Rome, spreads over 80 hectares (200 acres) and was built between 117 and 138 AD on the orders of the then emperor, Hadrian.
UNESCO calls it "a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world."
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