The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) was set up in 1974 as the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Environments. MiBACT oversees heritage protection throughout the state. By law, it has exclusive responsibility for heritage protection. It has initiated several unique funding strategies such as fee structures, tax incentives based on visitor behavior studies, and public-private partnerships to counteract the deteriorating culture budget and support its treasured cultural assets.
Since 2000, MiBACT has been entrusted with the full range of core cultural functions: heritage, museums, libraries and archives, visual arts, performing arts and cinema, cultural institutions, copyright, with the only exception being communications (radio television and the press).
In 2009, for the fourth time in a decade (Decree 91), the Ministry’s organisational structure – which had already been substantially modified by Decree 28/2004 and Decree 233/2007 – underwent significant changes once again (see Chart 2). According to Decree 91/2009, while the coordination of ministerial functions is still entrusted to a Secretary General, the General Directions have been reduced from nine to eight, with new denominations and a partial reshaping of their responsibilities (see Chart 2). In particular, the DG for Innovation has also been entrusted with responsibility for Budgeting and Planning; the DG for Landscape, Contemporary Architecture and Arts has been abolished and its competences amalgamated with the competences on Historic, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Goods in the new DG for Landscape, Fine Arts, Contemporary Art and Architecture; whereas a new DG for the Enhancement of Cultural Heritage has been created. The latter DG is aimed at better integrating the traditional preservation functions of this Ministry, with a new boost to managerial, promotional and communication functions pertaining to heritage, in order to encourage wider participation of Italian citizens in arts and culture, as well as to enhance Italy’s image abroad.
The eight DGs continue to be technically supported by seven high level scientific bodies, the Istituti centrali (for arts and books restoration and cataloguing, for archives, demo-ethno anthropological and audiovisual goods, etc.), which are relatively autonomous. Furthermore, in exercising its functions, the Ministry is assisted by two widely representative advisory bodies: the High Council for Heritage and Landscape and the “Consulta” for the Performing Arts.
The peripheral ministerial structure of MiBACT is provided for, in 17 out of 20 regions (see below), by Regional Directions for Cultural Goods and Landscape – which, unlike the French DRAC, are only responsible for heritage matters – and by the local Soprintendenze. These are techno-scientific structures active in the following fields: archaeology; architecture and landscape; fine arts, museums and ethno-anthropology; archives.
The responsibilities for the allocation of financial support to the press any for the conventions related to RAI (the state agency for radio and television, for providing additional public services – broadcasting abroad, etc…) are exercised by the Undersecretary of State through the Department for Information and Publishing of the Prime Minister’s Office.