Italy's culture ministry pledges €300m to heritage sites

Italy’s government has approved €300m (US$325m, £220m) plans to protect its most important heritage sites in need of restoration.

Despite having more UNESCO-recognised World Heritage sites than anywhere else in the world, Italy has historically offered a very low level of financial support to its heritage sites.

In recent years, many of Italy’s historic cultural locations have been in a poor or decaying state thanks to public spending cuts, corruption and bad management. In recent times, walls have collapsed at Pompeii, important artefacts have been smuggled out of the country and many museums are outdated and have low visitor turnout.

The country’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, has started to address these issues, appointing 20 new directors to Italy’s top museums and also introducing an Art Bonus tax break for patrons of Italian culture.

The new move to inject €300m into the heritage budget is a much-needed shot in the arm for Italy’s heritage sector. Among the sites earmarked for restoration, €13m (US$14m, £9.5m) will go towards the restoration of Emperor Nero’s Golden Palace. Additionally, the medieval walls protecting Siena will be restored over the next three years at a cost of €2.2m (US$2.4m, US$1.6m) and €6m (US$6.5m, £4.4m) will be used to maintain the foundations of the heritage city of Venice.

Italy’s Ministry of Culture also said that many cultural sites will be fitted with new security measures, including alarms and video surveillance, coming at a cost of €50m (US$53.7m, £36.6m).

Funds to start renovations will be made available immediately, with the money to be spread across 241 sites.

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Italy’s government has approved €300m (US$325m, £220m) plans to protect its most important heritage sites in need of restoration. Despite having more UNESCO-recognised World Heritage sites than anywhere else in the world, Italy has historically offered a very low level of financial support to its heritage sites. In recent years, many of Italy’s historic cultural locations have been in a poor or decaying state thanks to public spending cuts, corruption
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€6m will be used to maintain the foundations of Venice / Shutterstock.com
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