4.3 Other relevant issues and debates
For the time being, the main challenge in Italian cultural policy-making is undoubtedly how to cope with the progressively growing constraints in the public and private financial resources supporting the cultural field. Besides criticising the "unsustainable" downsizing of public expenditure for culture brought about by Law 220/2011 on financial stability (see chapter 4.1 and chapter 6), it is worth noting that recent debate has also been deploring the funding system of cultural goods and activities prevailing in our country: an old, ossified system, little fit to encourage autonomy in decision-making as well as to promote creativity and innovation, and therefore needing drastic renewal ("Economia della cultura", n. 4, 2012).
New ideas and movements originated from other negative effects of the additional austerity measures adopted by the above mentioned Financial Stability Law. One of the most innovative emerged in the aftermath of the suppression of Ente Teatrale Italiano (ETI), the Italian arm's length state institute for the promotion of theatre and dance established in 1942 (see chapter 5.3.2). Following ETI's abolishment and the transfer of its staff to MiBAC's DG for the Performing Arts, its three theatres were put on the market. Teatro La Pergola, in Florence, became a foundation owned by the municipality itself and by a banking foundation, whereas Teatro Quirino, in Rome, was privatised. But when the third theatre, Teatro Valle (the oldest theatre in Rome, founded in 1727), was about to be privatised as well, an upheaval of theatre people – actors, directors, musicians, and the whole Roman theatre community – fiercely opposed that decision by occupying the theatre in June 2011. This occupation has now been going on for two years, during which the community running the "Occupied Teatro Valle" was able to offer its audience hundreds of theatre, music, dance and film performances – plus conferences and seminars – thanks to the solidarity of artists performing for free on the Valle's stage, among which Peter Stein, Anatoly Vassiliev, Valery Gergiev, Dario Fo, Franca Rame, Nanni Moretti, etc. Meanwhile, a new juridical status – a foundation named Fondazione Teatro Valle Bene Comune (Foundation Teatro Valle Common Good) – is being planned for the occupied theatre.
The fate of Teatro Valle – whose privatisation is by now ruled out – is still uncertain. It may be entrusted to a public–private foundation with the municipality's participation (as proposed, in October 2012, by the outgoing major of Rome), or to a new model of foundation yet to be created, the Common Goods Foundation, whose financial sustainability, however, may not be easily secured. Fundraising of money and donations to establish the new foundation is lagging behind (only half of the needed financial resources have by now been raised). Meanwhile, though, the contagion has spread to other theatres – mainly in southern Italy – which have also been occupied.
The theatre's occupation gave rise to a broad movements of citizens, currently growing in our country, aimed at supporting a category of goods meeting the fundamental rights of the whole citizenship and enjoying a special status: common goods / "beni comuni" (among which cultural goods, air and water – the latter also threatened by privatisation in Italy). In the last two years, thousands of Circles of "Citizens for the common good" have been created throughout the country: as far as the cultural field is concerned, heritage and landscape protection are also among the most debated issues (see also Salvatore Settis, Azione popolare. Cittadini per il Bene Comune, 2012).
More recently, the idea of culture as a common good and as a fundamental right (in terms both of access and creativity) for all citizens, including those with a migrant background, has been authoritatively endorsed for the first time by the new Minister for Heritage, Massimo Bray, who quoted it last May in the introduction to his Programme Report for his Ministry in front of the Parliament (see chapter 4.1).