The Italian government have announced that they will be investing €1bn into museums and cultural sites across the country.
It will be the “biggest investment in cultural heritage” in Italy’s recent history, culture minister Dario Franceschini told The Telegraph. “These projects will start straightaway. These are not just announcements, but initiatives that have already been deliberated and financed,” he added.
The money, which will come from regular government budgets until 2020, will be allocated to 33 cultural places. The ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence are among those that will benefit. An 18th century stone prison, designed by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham on the island of Santo Stefano, will receive €70 million – the largest proportion of the funds.
It marks a new direction for the country, whose struggling economy has meant that it has had to rely on private benefactors and corporate sponsors to help preserve and protect its world-famous heritage. Artnet news points out that luxury group Tod’s paid €25 million to refurbish Rome’s Colosseum in 2012, fashion house Fendi paid $2.2 m (£1.5m) to restore the Trevi Fountain in 2014, and jeweler Bulgari donated $2 million (£1.3m) to repair the Spanish Steps in 2014.
The government are hopeful that much of the money will be recouped through tourism.