Italy is a Mediterranean country located in South Europe with an area of 116,336 sq. miles. It has 57,5 million inhabitants of which 67 per cent is urban. 98 per cent of the population belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

Cultural initiative in Italy is characterized by the plurality of bodies involved. The management of cultural affairs is accomplished through an interlaced system of administrative bodies, whose competences are dispersed among several sectors and administrative levels. The administrative model divides the country into twenty regions, 92 provinces, and some 8,000 municipalities distinguished not only by social and economic conditions but above all by their cultural backgrounds. Cultural events and projects of all kinds are often supervised by several bodies at different levels, including organizations under the control of the private sector.

For a long time, activities related to the protection and restoration of the nation's extremely rich cultural heritage have held the pride of place among the various cultural initiatives carried out and/or supported by the Italian state.


The favoured position of restoration and protection of the nation's cultural heritage is quaranteed by the Italian Constitution, whose Article 9 declares that 'the Republic shall promote the development of culture and scientific research; it shall care for the nation's historic and artistic heritage.' Cultural matters are mentioned in the Constitution once again in Articles 117 and 118. The former article establishes the competence of the local and regional authorities over museums and libraries, while the latter provides for the possibility of establishing lower-level controls over other specific fields through the introduction of the appropriate legislation.

Broadening the constitutional standards, the statutes of the regions generally envisage a more direct intervention in the cultural field, based on a more dynamic concept of cultural life. A typical example of this broader and more liberal approach is the formulation found in the statute of Lombardy, where the Region 'favours the development of culture in all its free manifestations'. Such definitions imply greater local government influence in the cultural field, a tendency which is confirmed also by Decree 616 of 1977.

Attempts to redefine the traditional concept of the strategy of cultural development started in the late 1960s, when the first studies were made aimed at analyzing and redirecting the public spending in the cultural domain (carried out by ISPE - Istituto di Studi per la Programmazione Economica) as part of the preparatory work for the National Economic Development Plan 1970-1975. The seventies were marked by massive campaigns in favour of 'democratizing' cultural life, followed by a generous increase of funding. Since the second half of the eighties, Italy's huge budget deficit on the one hand and active interest in sponsorship for heritage protection and promotion of culture on the other have resulted in a shift away from the traditional state-controlled cultural life and towards a system of more flexible projects with mixed public and private participation.

Support for the so-called 'educational and cultural promotion activities' is emerging as a new tendency in the Italian cultural policy. The 'promotion' connotes all the initiatives whose purpose is to encourage the creative expression of the people, their participation in and interaction with the manifestations of official culture, the organization of cultural events with massive participation, etc. To counterbalance the overwhelming preponderance of patrimony-oriented activities, recent funding for cultural promotion has in some regions even exceeded the amounts spent on the care for cultural heritage.


2.1 Public and semi-public bodies

The administration's responsibilities concerning the cultural policy are divided both horizontally and vertically. On the central government level, the competences for actions related to the cultural field are distributed among several ministries. The actions of the central government are also constantly tempered by the lower-level authorities embedded within the Italian 'regionalist' administrative system, which provides for an ever-present competition between centralist tendencies and local needs and ambitions.

In the absence of a ministry of culture as such, the responsibility for this field is distributed among the following Italian ministries and other bodies:

  • Ministry for the Cultural Heritage,
  • Ministry of Tourism and the Performing Arts,
  • Office of the Prime Minister,
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
  • Ministry of Posts and Communications,
  • Ministry of State Partnership,
  • Ministry of Education,
  • Ministry of Public Works.

It is important to note that the first ministry listed here covers the greater part of the field.It is the only Ministry solely concerned with cultural issues. The next two bodies participate only in particular segments of cultural life, namely in subsidizing book and newspaper publishing (Office of the Prime Minister) or international cultural relations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Until April 1993, the Ministry of Tourism and the Performing Arts was in charge of the performing arts. However, since the autonomous regions regarded themselves as solely responsible for their touristic development, the Ministry was dissolved following a referendum initiated by the regions. The tasks of the Direzione Generale per lo Spettacolo of the former Ministry have since been handled by the Prime Minister’s Office, which, however has not gone uncontested. This division is in charge of funding and supervising the performing arts in Italy and abroad, controls the effects of laws in the related field, supervises permanent institutions and manages activities at the regional level. It also administers the Funf for the Performing Arts.

Italy's general constitutional framework (Constitution of 1948, Articles 5 and 114) provide for a distribution of power and authority in public administration on four organizational levels:

  • state (acting through ministries and other mentioned central bodies)
  • region (acting through their own deartments for culture,
  • province Assessorati Cultura, which have recently
  • commune (municipality) been installed in most of the administrative units)

The important point about this segmentation of administrative levels is that it does not imply full subordination, i.e., the entities at lower levels are not conceived of as mere executive bodies charged with implementing actions and initiatives defined by higher authorities. As in other fields of activity, administrations on the mentioned levels have a significant degree of independence in cultural matters. The distribution of competences between is made roughly along the following lines:

  • the defining of the general objectives of the national cultural policy, as well as the protection of cultural heritage, care for national libraries and museums, promotion of the performing arts, and periodic support for cultural industries fall mainly within the scope of the central authorities;
  • the support for local libraries and museums, promotion of regional culture, and innovative initiatives aimed at promoting the performing arts are the responsibility of the regions; besides, the regions have relatively extensive legislative powers, so that they can (and do) intervene directly in areas such as cultural heritage, cultural entertainment, cultural facilities, and information;
  • the provinces coordinate actual cultural activities, sometimes, according to regional laws;
  • the municipalities are responsible for the running of the cultural institutions on their territory and ensuring the protection of the local cultural heritage; they are also involved in promotional activities (festivals, exhibitions, etc.).

What results from the described model is a polarity between, on one side, the central administration, which lays general quidelines and at the same time holds the most significant share of the funds, and, on the other side, the lower-level bodies which are supposed to carry out specific actions to achieve the defined objectives, but they try to do this in an independent way. The present trend that favours the integration of the technological and scientific infrastructure, cultural communication and opening of possibilities for efficient global actions within the whole of the national culture, is obviously opposed to excessive atomization of the cultural space.

Interventions by several national coordinating bodies seek to neutralize the negative effects of administrative fragmentation, while keeping open the possibility of expression of local interests. Apart from the existing bodies for general purposes, such as the Union of Italian Provinces and the Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani, which partly intervene also in the cultural field, a separate body fully dedicated to cultural coordination, the Inter-regional Co-ordinating Committee for Culture, was established in 1971.

To cater for regional diversities, different organizational and legislative models are applied in different parts of the country, resulting in a proliferation of regional special laws, committees, councils, and institutions trying to meet the needs of specific areas. Actually, the regions are inclined to enforce their authority by establishing new laws concerning such essential questions as the collaboration of the public and private sectors, or defining their own 'cultural systems'.

2.2 Facilities and institutions

There are also other organizational models, institutions and initiatives dealing with the cultural field, such as the traditionally renowned Academies, private universities, research and coordination centres, for instance, CIDIM (Italian Centre for Musical Initiative), the CINI Foundation dedicated to the organization of exhibitions, congresses and advanced training, etc. Several of these institutions are in private hands.

Osservatori culturali

The intricacies of cultural development in Italy have given rise to the specific phenomenon of 'cultural observatories'. These institutions, acting as mediators between various state bodies and other groups dealing with cultural planning and the general public usually perform dual functions:

  • advisory services for governmental bodies regarding the allocation of public funds, aimed at rationalizing cultural policies;
  • research/study and documentation centres.

Apart from the A. Gemelli Institute in Milan, most of the observatories are locally based and supported by the regions, provinces and municipalities. The high expenses that these observatories entail explain the collapse of many of them at the time of financial constraints for the local powers. The most effective and active of these structures is the Osservatorio Culturale e Sviluppo Progetti della Regione Lombardia.

The mission of the cultural observatories in acquiring and interpreting information could be specified as follows:

  • tracking public sector spending and establishing methodological prerequisites for its analysis (which includes the development of a set of credible indicators);
  • following and analyzing the effectiveness of administrative decisions on different levels;
  • generating and publishing synthetic reports and critical evaluations of the effects of cultural policies for their respective areas;
  • identifying the current state and evolution of tendencies in cultural supply and demand;
  • establishing data banks on cultural development and combining collected data and know-how into knowledge bases; offering the services of information systems to both legislators and the general public;
  • organizing training programmes for operators in the cultural field.


3.1 Financing of cultural activities

The process of reshaping the distribution of funds for culture is proceeding in two main directions:

  • the restructuring of funding, meaning that a significant effort is being made to balance the development of all sectors and reduce the priority of patrimony-oriented activities;
  • the broadening of possibilities for mixed funding and participation of non-governmental sources in financing cultural initiatives, namely, by encouraging their sponsorship and establishing direct links between independent private investors and cultural production.

Due to the multifaceted structure of the culture sector, any statistical quantification of the Italian culture budget is extremely difficult.

One would expect that the characteristic 'regional' administrative organization in Italy should produce a diversity of trends within the national cultural policy. However, on the pragmatic level of the distribution of funds, one notes at once that the system has some distinctly centralistic traits, since between 50 and 60 per cent of the public money assigned to culture during the last ten years has come from the central administration. Following, in a decreasing order, are the funds provided by the communal (municipal) (25-30 per cent) and regional administrations (about 12 per cent), while the share of the provincial administrations in culture funding remains marginal (around 2.5 per cent).

Recent surveys of the distribution of public spending on culture among the administrative levels indicate a slight drop in the share pertaining to the state and some growth of local participation. But to accomplish a real decentralization of the structure of expenditure among the administrative levels, a radical revision of the tax system would be required. Instead of the present method of central (national) taxatation, some thought should be given to the possibility that local communities may control their income by imposing and collecting taxes in order to obtain the necessary funds to be used in the public sector according to specific needs as seen on the local level.

It should be kept in mind that 'public spending for culture' represents only a tenth part of the total expenditure on culture in Italy, while most of the money invested in cultural programmes comes from private sources (cultural consumption, advertising, sponsorship). Therefore, although the central authorities may prefer to maintain control over their share of budget, important amounts of money coming from the market enter the cultural field on the regional and, no less significantly, communal (municipal) levels.

Starting in 1988, the effect of the cultural policy in Italy, as in other developed countries, has been to reduce state subsidies. Repeated attempts have been made to neutralize the elements of crisis by reorganizing and rationalizating the administrative bodies and their activities. While the implementation of special new laws on heritage protection had acted as a boost to the financing of culture in the preceding period, the fact that those laws were not refinanced caused most of the downturn which occurred after 1988. The decline in funding affected the performing arts sector as well as other sectors and was a reflection of the expenditure reduction policy practised by the government after the 1989 budgetary crisis. The reduction of the total expenditure on culture was as high as 27 per cent in 1988, then 24 per cent in the following year, dropping to 9 per cent in the nineties.

The fall of public funding for culture, which affects the system on both the central and the local level, implies that for purely economic reasons a considerable portion of cultural production is already forced to turn towards the market, either trying to make its offer appealing to as large an audience as possible, or tapping funds coming from alternative sources, through direct sponsorship or even investments by private corporations.

In this respect, Italy has become a model country in Europe, with considerable amounts of money flowing from private investors towards cultural projects. In the absence of pertinent statistics, one can only refer to figures quoted as estimates, according to which between 300 and 400 million US dollars is spent on culture each year by Italian corporations. The maximum corporate tax relief for donations is 12 billion (1.3 million ECUs).

Besides its significant volume, corporate support for arts and culture in Italy is characterized by spontaneity. Sponsorship and other forms of support grew strongly in the wake of the economic boom in the eighties, when the Italian business and financial bodies became aware of the potential economic benefits that could derive from their involvement in preserving and developing various forms of national culture. The two main legal instruments designed to stimulate private initiatives are the following:

  • the 1982 law making tax deductible the amounts of money spent on restoring monuments and works of art and organizing exhibitions (with no limitations on the amounts involved);
  • the 1985 law providing for tax deduction of donations for theatre, music, film productions, etc., originally limited to 2 per cent of the revenue, later raised to 20%.

The ambiguity of the mentioned regulations and bureaucratic inefficiency have created a situation in which the corporations wishing to gain as much effect as possible from their contributions (measured mostly through marketing and image improvement gains) decide to present their sponsorship expenses as expenses for advertising and promotion, which are fully deductible. The vagueness of the public system in the field of cultural sponsorship limits individual contributors most, and their donations are still relatively marginal.

The issue that still awaits a more precise definition is that of overall coordination of interaction between the public and the private sector. It is obvious that a more clearly defined policy in relation to sponsorship would help to avoid disproportions in financing, which now tends towards locally concentrated sponsorship in more prestigious areas (coinciding with the headquarters of large companies) or towards grouping the initiatives around more prominent and 'visible' sectors.

3.2 Legislation 1

Italy is probably the European country that has produced most culture-related laws.

The decentralized model of state organization in Italy is reflected in cultural legislation and the existence of parallel national and regional regulations. A coexistence of national and local legislative powers is the essence of decentralized administration. Although, sometimes it does not contribute to clarifying the responsibilities in the cultural sector.

The activities related to cultural patrimony, including both historical and contemporary production, benefit from copious legislative provisions, and there is abundant regional legislation covering museums and libraries. The fact that the field of monument protection itself continues to be governed by an outdated national pre-war law is a serious setback. The legislation focused solely on 'repairing' and 'restoring' historic monuments is highly inappropriate in the present conditions, when both the state and the general public are looking for solutions that would also involve the expression of cultural creativity and promotion in the protection of cultural patrimony.

The subject of copyright for fine arts, literary works and cultural information in general is covered in a comprehensive law passed in 1943.

The legislation governing the performing arts consists of two national laws dealing with music and the cinema passed in the sixties and several regional laws. The law passed in 1985 concerns the creation of the Unified Fund for the Performing Arts.

A new museum law came into force in 1994, granting partial legal independence to museums and other cultural institutions. According to this law, state collections should generate at least some income through publications and loan fees.


4.1 Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage, or 'beni culturali' as conceived by the Italian administration, includes architectural monuments, museums, libraries and archives (the Ministry for Cultural Heritage has been created by combining the former General Direction of Antiquities and Fine Arts with the State Archives). The funding of this sector still represents the most significant single item within the total sum of money allocated for cultural initiatives. In 1992, for instance, 60.7 per cent of the state's spending on culture was assigned to heritage-related activities, compared to 19.1 per cent spent on music, 4.4 per cent on theatres, and just 2,1 per cent on libraries.

The Ministry for Cultural Heritage channels its activities through the Central Office for Environmental Architectural, Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Assets, which is in charge of:

  • the conservation of heritage,
  • management of national museums and monuments, and supervision over local and private museums.

In its work, the Office depends on the following bodies which are attached to it:

  • the Central Institute for Restoration,
  • the Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation,
  • the National Institute for Graphics.

The Central Office for Archives is in charge of the management of state archives and the supervision of private archives, with its attached Centre for Photoreproduction and Restoring.

The Central Office for Libraries and Cultural Institutions is responsible for:

  • eight national libraries including two which function as depository libraries (the Central Library of Rome and the Central Library of Florence),
  • some specialized libraries,
  • supervision over Academies and Cultural Institutes.

Other bodies attached to the Office include the following:

  • the Central Institute for Unified Cataloguing,
  • the Central Institute for Book Pathology,
  • the State Sound Archives.

Apart from these specialized bodies, the Ministry also relies on the services of its advisory body, the National Council for Cultural and Environmental Assets, composed of appointed members, both representatives of the regions and individual specialists, who participate in cultural development planning.

The management of national libraries is also the Ministry's responsibility, while local and private libraries depend on their regional departments for culture (see above).

There are also professional organizations active in the field, like the National Union of Writers, Union of Book Publishers, Union of Booksellers and Union of Libraries.

The promotion of contemporary art and the purchase of works of living artists is within the mandate of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, and is effected through the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art and national and international events, such as the Biennale di Venezia or the Quadriennale Nazionale d'Arte.

Professionals are grouped in organizations such as the Union of Visual Artists and the Union of Modern Art Dealers.

4.2 Cultural education and training


4.3 Performing arts

The cultural activities of the Direzione Generale per lo Spettacolo include the promotion of the theatre, music and cinema. The Direzione provides subsidies for cultural programmes and projects, but it does not directly run any particular institutions. It supervises and finances some 250 institutions and performing groups, including major opera houses and symphony orchestras, several prominent chamber orchestras, permanent public theatres as well as non-profit cooperative theatres, touring companies, commercial theatres, and smaller orchestras, dance companies, etc.

In pursuing its task of establishing greater coordination in the field, the former Ministry of Tourism and the Performing Arts was engaged in drafting the new general law dealing with the performing arts which was adopted in 1985. This law views the theatre, cinema, music and dance as one interdependent whole, and four sectorial laws that followed it clearly reflected this view. As a result of this law, a Unified Fund for the Performing Arts has been set up, providing for the growing needs of this sector, which, unlike the protection of heritage, is becoming more and more dependent on public funding.

Some public agencies and festivals involved in performing arts programmes also depend on the Ministry:

  • Ente Teatrale Italiano, national agency for the propagation of drama, in charge of 124 theatres nationwide;
  • Institute for Italian Drama, National Institute for Ancient Drama, promotion of drama repertory - Italian and ancient classical;
  • Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto).

4.4 Visual and fine arts

See paragraph 4.1 above.

4.5 Literature and literary production 2

See paragraph 4.1 above.

4.6 Music

The cornerstone of musical life in Italy – opera, dance and concerts – are the thirteen "Enti lirici e sinfonici", autonomous public bodies run by the municipalities. They are: La Scala of Milan, Opera of Rome, Acade-mia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, La Fenice in Venice, Teatri Comunali in Florence, Bologna, Genoa and Trieste, San Carlo in Naples, Massimo in Palermo, Regio in Turin, Arena in Verona, Pier Luigi da Palestrina in Cagliari.

There are also twelve symphonic orchestras, 23 minor opera theatres, several chamber orchestras, etc. less consistently financed by the government.

Promotional activities are also exercised and funded by the regional and local departments for culture.

The main professional organizations within this field are Sindicato Nazionale Musicisti and Sindicato Musicisti Italiani.

The research centre Centro Italiano di Iniziativa Musicale is a private association for the coordination of music distribution and for research activities. It houses the national section of the CIM (UNESCO) and publishes an annual handbook ‘Annuario musicale italiano’.


The participation of the mass media, ensuring an adequate and extensive coverage of cultural events, is evident in most segments of Italy's cultural life. Some recent research shows that the extent of reporting on cultural events on Italian radio, TV, and especially in the newspapers is relatively high compared with some other European countries, including those with cultural policy models similar to the French model. Not only do newspapers and other media follow cultural events in their regular sections, but they also help to organize and sponsor specific cultural events of national and international significance and become directly involved in their promotion and marketing.

However, not all the sectors of culture have benefited from media involvement in the cultural field. The steadily rising influence of omnipresent television chains in Italy is a factor that is likely to change the behaviour of potential consumers of traditional cultural forms. The cinema, for instance, is certainly a subsegment of the performing arts which has suffered most from the widening of TV audiences. During the seventies, more than one quarter of the cinema-goers abandoned the practice, only to be followed by an even more dramatic drop of almost 60 per cent during the eighties. The phenomenon is to be ascribed to the liberalization of private channels in the late seventies and the fact that there is no legal restriction concerning the amount of films shown on TV in Italy.

5.1 Book publishing

One part of the activities related to literary production (high-level book publishing, as defined by special laws on publishing dating from 1981 and 1987) is covered by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage. A 50 per cent bonus on loans is given by credit institutions to publishers who want to issue quality editions. Consequently, periodical publications whose contents are mostly cultural are eligible for tax reliefs and subsidies. The Ministry also helps to cover the costs of acquisition or translation of selected titles through Italian cultural institutes abroad and supports the appearance of Italian publishers at national and international book festivals and Italian book exports. The acquisition of books for national libraries and those belonging to Academies and Cultural Institutes is also supported.

Additional incentives, i.e., awards and subventions for writers, publishers, libraries, and associations, are provided by the General Directorate for Information, Publishing and Literary, Artistic and Scientific Property of the Office of the Prime Minister.

5.2 Press

The main responsible body is the Prime Minister’s Office – General Directorate for Information, Publishing and Literary and Scientific Property. It regulates and substantially finances the publishing of newspapers and magazines which comply with special antitrust requirements (law 416 of 1981 on publishing).

While books and newspapers were initially exempted from VAT, a reduced rate of 4% was introduced in 1990, thus diminishing the strongest public incentive to publishing.

Threatened by the extremely strong presence of TV networks, the print media benefit from numerous forms of state support. The state participates in sharing the costs of newsprint for newspapers and magazines, depending on their contents. Thus, several hundred newspapers and periodical publications receive this support. Support is also available for the publication of newspapers and periodicals abroad, the work of the press agencies, modernization and financial restructuring of enterprises, operation of broadcasting enterprises, press and information services, and the production of documentation for foreign audiences.

The written media benefit from reduced postal rates. Public sector businesses are obliged to spend at least 50 per cent of their publicity budgets on press advertising.

Professional organizations within this field are the following: Ordine dei Giornalisti, Federazione Nazionale della Stampa (FNSI).

Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali (FIEG) is an association of newspaper publishers. It publishes a magazine ‘L’editore’.

5.3 Broadcasting and sound recording industry

RAI TV runs three national networks for broadcasting and TV and is financed by fee-licences and advertising.

In 1976, a decision of the Constitutional Court ended the State monopoly of radio and TV communication, and since then there has been a proliferation of private local stations (about 500). National TV networks finally emerged from this multitude: Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete Quattro, owned by FININVEST. This duopoly, which is peculiar to Italy, of RAI and FININVEST (together they absorb 87 per cent of the daily audience) was practically legally acknowledged by law 223 of 1990 on the public and private television service.

RAI also acts a holding for the following public corporations: ERI, FONIT-CETRA, SACIS, SIPRA.

Recordings of quality titles of classical music and valuable collections are supported by FONIT-CENTRA, a firm linked with the national broadcasting network. The VAT for releases is reduced by 50 per cent.

5.4 Cinema and film industry

The national movie production (all titles that comply with a set of norms and are accepted for obligatory screening) automatically receives a partial reimbursement of the exploitation costs. About 150 movies of all duration categories are awarded different national prizes. Several types of 'regular' and 'exceptional' merit ratings for films are offered (the latter applicable to movies with artistic and cultural merits), as well as bonuses on loan interest. A special fund is available for the expansion and development of film production. There are also subsidies for economic restructuring (for companies engaged in movie production and distribution), for film publicity, and for the production of documentaries destined for foreign audiences.

A 50 per cent VAT reduction applies to cinema tickets, while various tax reductions apply to children's and quality movies.


Participation in cultural life

Indicators of attendance for theatre, opera and classical music performances between 1985 and 1995 show some small policy-influenced improvements (or at least non-deterioration) in audience participation, following the establishment of the Unified Performing Arts Fund (Fondo unico per lo spettacolo). The Fund made possible the doubling of state subsidies, thus helping to slow down ticket price increases and keeping the audiences. On the other hand, the prices of tickets for popular music kept rising, thus causing a substantial crisis in this sector in the same period. In general, audience figures in the late eighties did not match the expansion of audience participation in the 1970, when a steady rise of subsidies, combined with the general 'democratization' trend, caused an unparalleled interest of the public. Rather than boosting box-office receipts, the presence of the United Performing Arts Fund actually led to an excess of supply through new productions.

The initiatives for the 'democratization' of cultural life that characterized the late seventies and early eighties found their most successful form in large-scale cultural events organized mainly in summer time, involving combined performances of different forms of art. It was the period of prosperity for massive cultural festivals lasting several weeks and representing selected (national and international) programmes. Such events, with their diversified offer tailored to satisfy a broad range of tastes, managed to attract huge audiences. By obtaining a massive response of the public, they fulfilled their task of 'democratization'; at the same time, they went counter to the concept of 'decentralization', since they attracted large numbers of spectators from different areas to historic city centres.

In the light of everything said here, it can be concluded that Italian society is simultaneously strengthening the position of local bodies responsible for culture and reaffirming the importance of the central rule. The former is confirmed by significant legislative innovations (regional legislation in favour of local communities that further elaborates the long-term objectives of the national cultural policy), while the latter is evident in the continued efforts to enhance national values (patrimony, central all-Italian events, etc.).


The main governmental body involved in international cultural affairs in Italy is the General Directorate for Cultural Relations attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for the coordination of Italy's cultural activities abroad and contacts with international organizations (UNESCO, ICCROM, Council of Europe).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also maintains a worldwide network of Italian Cultural Institutes, whose purpose is -

  • to promote Italian culture and science in various aspects by maintaining libraries, organizing exhibitions, theatre shows, concerts, promoting of cinematographic production, and lectures;
  • to participate in the cultural life of foreign countries by co-sponsoring international cultural events.

The Ministry manages the 85 well-established Italian cultural institutes abroad, which, in addition to providing language courses, act as focal points for the spreading of Italian culture. In 1990, a single concept for Italian cultural contacts with foreign countries was advanced for the first time through a new commission for the promotion of Italian culture abroad.

Italy has signed bilateral agreements with 53 European and non-European countries, covering various aspects such as cultural events, establishment of cultural centres, cooperation between cultural institutions and universities, exchange of specialists, bilateral promotion of the respective languages, fellowships, exchange of publications, and cooperation in archaeological research.

There are also institutions attached to the European Community based in Italy dedicated to cultural cooperation, such as the European University Institute in Florence and the Centre for Advanced European Studies at Urbino.


8.1 Ministries, authorities and academies

    Accademia di Belle Arti
    Via di Ripetta 222
    00186 Roma
    Tel.: 3227025

    Accademia di Brera
    Via Brera 28
    20121 Milano
    Tel.: (2) 86460639

    Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica "S. D’Amico"
    Via V. Bellini 16
    00198 Roma
    Tel.: 8543680
    Fax: 8542505

    Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
    Via della Lungara 10
    00153 Roma

    Accademia Nazionale di Danza
    Largo Arrigo VII 5
    00153 Roma
    Tel.: 5743284

    Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
    Via Vittoria 6
    00187 Roma

    Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani (ANCI)
    Via dei Prefetti 46
    00186 Roma
    Tel.: 6873501
    Fax: 6873547

    Commissione Interregionale di Coordinamento per la Cultura
    c/o Assessorato Cultura Regione Toscana
    Via Farini 8
    50100 Firenze
    Tel.: (55) 4382111

    Commissione Nazionale Italiana per l'UNESCO
    Piazza Firenze 27
    00186 Roma
    Tel.: 6873684

    Commissione Nazionale per le Attrezzature Culturali
    Piazza dei Servili 2
    00153 Roma

    Ministero per i Beni Culturali ed Ambientali
    Via del Collegio Romano 27
    00186 Roma
    Tel.: 6723

    Ufficio Centrale Beni Ambientali, Architettonici,
    Archeologici, Artistici e Storici
    Via S.Michele 22
    00153 Roma
    Tel.: 58431

    Ufficio Centrale Beni Archivistici
    Via Gaeta 1/a
    00185 Roma
    Tel.: 4469381
    Fax: 4872223

    Ufficio Centrale Beni Librari e Istituti Culturali
    Via M. Mercati 4
    00197 Roma
    Tel.: 3221304
    Fax: 3216632

    Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione
    Direzione Generale degli Scambi Culturali
    Via Ippolito Nievo 35
    00153 Roma
    Tel.: 58491

    Ministero degli Affari Esteri
    Direzione Generale delle Relazioni Culturali
    Piazzale della Farnesina
    00194 Roma
    Tel.: 325957
    Fax: 36912514

    Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri
    Direzione Generale delle Informazioni e l'Editoria
    Via Po 16/a
    00198 Roma
    Tel.: 85981

    Ministero delle Poste e Telecomunicazioni
    Direzione Centrale Servizi Radio Elettrici
    Viale Europa 160
    00144 Roma
    Tel.: 5942565

    Ministero dei Lavori Pubblici
    Piazzale Porta Pia
    00198 Roma
    Tel.: 84821

8.2 Central cultural institutions

    Biennale di Venezia
    Ca' Giustinian
    30100 Venezia
    Tel.: (41) 5218711
    Fax: (41) 5236374

    CENSIS (Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali)
    Piazza di Novella 2
    00199 Roma
    Tel.: 860911
    Fax: 8315200

    Centre International pour l'Education Artistique
    Isole di San Giorgio Maggiore
    30124 Venezia

    Centro Internazionale di Cultura per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli
    Piazza della Vittoria 11/A/5
    16121 Genova

    Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
    Via Tuscolana 1524
    00173 Roma
    Tel.: 722941
    Fax: 7221619

    CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche)
    Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
    00185 Roma
    Tel.: 49931
    Fax: 4461954

    CIDIM (Centro Italiano di Iniziativa Musicale)
    Via V. Colonna 18
    00193 Roma
    Tel.: 68802402

    Ente Autonomo Gestione Cinema
    Via Tuscolana 1055
    00173 Roma
    Tel.: 7291530

    Ente Teatrale Italiano (ETI)
    Via in Arcione 98
    00187 Roma

    Festival dei due mondi
    Piazza Duomo

    Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
    Via dell Arte 131
    00144 Roma
    Tel.: 3224152

    Via della Scrofa 14
    00186 Roma
    Fax: +390 6 6892344

    ISPE (Istituto di Studi per la Programmazione Economica)
    Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 284
    00186 Roma
    Tel.: 68361
    Fax: 6836422

    Istituto Agostino Gemelli
    Largo A. Gemelli 1
    20100 Milano

    Istituto Nazionale Architettura (INARCH)
    Via Monte Giordano 26
    00186 Roma

    Istituto Nazionale Urbanistica (INU)
    Via S. Caterina da Siera 46
    00186 Roma

    Istituto per i beni artistici, culturali, naturali
    della Regione Emilia Romagna
    Via Manzoni 2
    40121 Bologna
    Tel.: (51) 226168

    Quadriennale Nazionale d'Arte
    Via Nazionale 19h, Re
    00184 Roma
    Tel.: 4741689

    Rai TV
    Viale Mazzini 14
    00195 Roma
    Tel.: 3878

8.3 Associations

    ANCSA (Associazione Nazionale per i Centri Storico-Artistici)
    Piazza Oderisi 3
    Gubbio - 06024 Perugia
    Tel.: (75) 9273409

    Associazione Nazionale Cooperazione Culturale
    Via Dalmazia 29
    00198 Roma

    Fondazione Europea per la Cultura
    Via di Monserrato, 152
    00186 Roma

    Fondazione CINI
    Isola di San Giorgio
    30100 Venezia
    Tel.: (41) 5289900

    Societa Dante Alighieri
    Piazza Firenze 27
    00186 Roma


Andersen, Arthur. Bussiness Support for the Arts in Europe, London, CEREC, 1992 pp. 33-35.

Bodo, Carla. Italian National Report. Paper presented at the International Conference on Cultural Policies, Tokyo, 22 - 24 February 1990.

Bodo, Carla. Participation in Cultural Life in Italy. Papers presented to the European Round Table on Cultural Research, Moscow, April 1991. Zentrum für Kulturforschung in cooperation with C.I.R.C.L.E., ARCult, Bonn 1991, 335 pp.

Bodo, Carla. The Role of Cultural Foundations in Italy. Circle European Round Table, Budapest, 21-22 March 1994, 9 pp.

Cultural Policy and Cultural Administration in Europe: 42 outlines. Vienna, Österreichische Kulturdokumentation, Internationales Archiv für Kulturanalysen, 1996, pp. 93-99.

Gli osservatori culturali in Italia. Quaderno dell'Osservatorio Culturale Lombardo, Milano, 1988, no. 2.

Gli osservatori culturali: lo stato dell'arte (atti dell'incontro). Quaderno dell'Osservatorio Culturale Lombardo, Milano, 1989, no. 3.

Handbook for Cultural Affairs in Europe. Baden-Baden, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1995, pp. 347-365.

La cultura e i suoi attori: le idee, i percorsi, le esperienze. Osservatorio Culturale Lombardo, Milano, 1995, 68 pp.

Muti, Andrea (ed.). Cultural Production in Italy. Themes of 'Vita Italiana', Rome, Issue No. 3, July/September 1987, 155 pp.

National Cultural Policy in Italy. Rome, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1995, 480 pp.

Osservatorio e osservatori. Osservatorio Culturale Lombardo, Milano, 1990.

Papa, Marco & Alberto, Trezzi. Resources for Cultural Policies, IARD, Osservatorio Culturale Lombardo, Milano, 1992, 133 pp.

Rouet, François & Xavier, Dupin. Le soutien public aux industries culturelles. Paris, La Documentation française, 1991, 350 pp.

Saez, Guy & Mireille, Pongy. Les politiques culturelles de quatre régions d'Europe. Grenoble, CERAT, 1991.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1997. Mahwah, New Jersey, World Almanac Books, 1997.


* This monograph is based on a selection of data from the Cultural Policies Data Bank and on documents collected by the Documentation Centre for Cultural Development and Cooperation, Culturelink. The original draft, written by Borko Augustin, has been revised by Carla Bodo, Secretary General of ISPE. It has also been revised by Daniela Angelina Jelincic in 1997.

1. See also chapters 1, 2 and 4.

2. See also chapter 5.