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Italy/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.6 Other relevant issues

Closer cultural cooperation with China has been one of the most important recent priorities for Italy. The Ministry for Heritage has been a pioneer in establishing fruitful collaboration with China for the installation of the new Xian Museum, the restoration of parts of the Great Wall, of the Sublime Harmony Pavilion of the Prohibited City, etc. Further progress has been accomplished, with the signature in Rome, at the end of 2010, of a special partnership agreement between China and Italy for the Valorisation of the Cultural Heritage, also with a view to pursuing advanced common research and pilot projects in the field of digital cataloguing and the application of satellite technologies for archaeological projects. In the framework of this special partnership, a permanent space for periodic exhibitions of Italian art and heritage collections within the Chinese National Museum in Tienanmen Square was inaugurated in 2012. Symmetrically, a similar permanent space has been made available for China in the Museum of Palazzo Venezia in Rome. The first act of this agreement had been the organisation in 2010 of an exhibition in Beijing – subsequently transferred to Rome – celebrating through precious ancient artefacts "The Eagle and the Dragon: the Two Empires" (i.e. the Chin and Han empires in China, and the simultaneous Roman Empire in Italy). The Chinese venue in Palazzo Venezia has been hosting several other archaeological exhibitions in the subsequent years.

As already mentioned, since the 2000s the latest trend in bilateral cultural cooperation has been the new bias towards organising, in selected countries considered of strategic relevance, block buster cultural events mostly concentrated in the time-span of a year.

The first of these yearly events has been Italia-Giappone (2001), followed by Italia-Russia (2004-2005), and by Italia in Cina (2006). These "years" host a whole range of cultural activities – from block buster exhibitions, to touring of major theatre companies and opera houses, from film festivals to scientific conferences– which are aimed at giving the widest possible representation of the highlights of Italian cultural and artistic life, whereas at the same time, or immediately after, reciprocal cultural and artistic representation is made to the Italian public by the partner countries. Besides the exchanges of exhibitions and events, artistic co-productions also take place. Given the limited financial resources of the DG's budget, other ministries and the regions, along with Savings Banks Foundations and corporate sponsors (ENEL, ENI, FIAT, Ferrari, etc...) are contributing to the related costs.

Russia has been, along with China, one of the favourite targets of international cultural exchanges and cooperation. 2011 was again the "Year of Italian and Russian Culture", with 4 million EUR allocated by our government for supporting a lively interchange, at the highest level, of art exhibitions (Deineka, famous representative of "Russian Realism", in Rome, "From the icons to Malevitch" in Florence, Raffaello and Caravaggio at the Pushkin, Antonello da Messina at Tetryakov) as well as musical and theatrical events: Fomenko's Theatrical Laboratory in Rome, La Scala's Ballet Company at the Bolshoy).

On the other hand, 2013 has been the Year of Italian Culture in the USA. 50 events have been organised throughout the year in 200 eastern, western and southern US cities around the theme research, discovery, innovation. The programmewas aimed at promoting Italy as a country at the forefront of modernity and innovation in the fields of music, theatre, cinema, artistic heritage, landscape, visual arts, design, sciences, and – last but not least – fashion and gastronomy. The Year was inaugurated by the extraordinary exhibition of Michelangelo's David at Washington's National Gallery. Among the many initiatives, the blockbuster exhibition Art and Invention between Greece and Rome in Sicily at the Getty Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art – along with ancient and contemporary artists' exhibitions, film festivals and theatre and opera performances – should be singled out. Along with MAE, MIBACT, the Ministry for Economic Development and other ministries, ENI and the bank Intesa Sanpaolo were the main official sponsors of Italy in the US 2013.

More recently, 2015 and 2016 have been declared the Years of Italian Culture in Latin America. Among the approx. 500 events organised by the Italian embassies, cultural institutes and companies with local organisations – without any additional central funding - the concerts of Uto Ughi and of the Rome Opera, the exhibitions of Michelangelo and Leonardo in Mexico City, of Sandro Botticelli in Santiago and of Marino Marini in S. Paolo should be mentioned. The event will be closed in July 2016 by the exhibition "Sport in Ancient Greece and Rome" inaugurating the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Chapter published: 14-07-2016

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