ROME - ITALIAN Culture Minister Sandro Bondi faced calls for his resignation in parliament on Wednesday, amid outrage over the collapse of a house in the ancient Roman archaeological site of Pompeii.

Two opposition groups - the main centre-left Democratic Party and the Italy of Values party headed by former anti-corruption magistrate Antonio di Pietro - have submitted formal motions for a vote on his resignation.

Images of the collapsed house in Pompeii 'have been seen around the world and there are precise responsibilities of the minister,' Democratic Party chief Pier Luigi Bersani said during a visit to north-east Italy.

The House of Gladiators was once owned by gladiator Marcus Lucretius Fronto, whose victories in battle and love had been scrawled in ancient Roman graffiti on its facade. It collapsed into rubble on Saturday. But Mr Bondi - a loyalist of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - dismissed the resignation calls and said the opposition was attempting to make his fate part of the wider political crisis that is gripping Italy.

'The problems in Pompeii, like those of a large part of our artistic heritage, have existed for years without anyone resolving them definitively or imposing an efficient strategy,' Mr Bondi said. He also said the collapse of the house in Pompeii was not due to cuts in Italy's culture budgets but to local management problems of the site.

Buried by ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, Pompeii remains the best-conserved example of an ancient Roman city.

Minister grilled over Pompeii collapse