Italy Announces Historic $1.1 Billion Cultural Infrastructure Investment

33 museums, monuments, and sites will get funds.

Rome's Colosseum under renovation. Photo: Benjamin Sutton.

After years of being propped up by private luxury goods companies, the Italian government announced a major investment of €1 billion into the country’s iconic, but crumbling museums and cultural sites. Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini told the Telegraph that it “the biggest investment in Italy’s cultural heritage in the history of the republic.”

The funds will be invested into restoration and rebuilding of 33 museums, monuments and archaeological sites, the Art Newspaper reports. Sites earmarked for renewal include Pompeii, the town of L’Aquila, and Florence’s Uffizi galleries.

Marketed under the banner “one billion for culture,” Franceschini explained that the money will finally allow Italy’s decaying cultural infrastructure to be revitalized.


A hallway at the Uffizi Gallery.
Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

A frail economy and poor planning has resulted in a dependency on private benefactors and corporate sponsors. Luxury group Tod’s paid €25 million ($28.7 million) to bankroll the refurbishment of Rome’s Colosseum in 2012, whilst fashion house Fendi paid $2.2 million to restore the Trevi Fountain in 2014, and luxury jeweler Bulgari donated $2 million to repair the Spanish Steps in 2014.

Museums to receive funding include Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera, which received €40 million ($45.9 million) for an expansion project. After already receiving €18 million ($20.6 million) last year, the Uffizi will receive an additional €40 million ($45.9 million) to complete its modernization which was first proposed in the 1960s.

Italy's Minister of cultural Dario Franceschini Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Italy’s Minister of cultural Dario Franceschini

Most of the funding is going to the financially-strapped south of Italy. The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is getting €20 million ($22.9 million) to improve its galleries and accessibility, whilst the Capodimonte Museum will receive €30 million ($34.4 million) to restore its collection.

Meanwhile, the 18th century Baroque Palace of Caserta will get €40 million ($45.9 million) for essential repairs and maintenance to the building and surrounding park.

Italy’s famous archaeological sites are also getting funding. Pompeii is getting €40 million ($45.9 million), the Campi Flegrei is getting €25 million ($28.7 million), the Paestum has been allocated €20 million ($22.9 million), and the Herculaneum €10 million ($11.4 million).

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