5.3.3 Cultural heritage
A new Heritage and Landscape Codex - aiming at the rationalisation of huge layers of multifaceted legislation regulating the field since the early past century - was adopted by Minister Urbani through the Delegated Decree 42/2004, according to Law 137/2002 (see chapter 5.2). It was further modified by Minister Buttiglione (Leg. Decrees 156/2006 and 157/2006) and by Minister Rutelli (Leg. Decrees 62/2008 and 63/2008), so much so that it can be defined as a complex and protracted "bipartisan endeavour".
This monumental Codex, made up of 184 Articles, attempts to be all-embracing. After sanctioning a new, more extended and up-to-date definition of cultural goods, also inclusive of immaterial goods, it regulates in detail all the functions pertaining to the heritage, archives and libraries – protection, enhancement, management, national and international circulation of cultural goods, etc. – as well as to the landscape.
Although a large part of the huge pre-existing legislation dealing with this matter – from the first extensive law regulating the protection of the heritage, Law 1089/1939, up to the recent legislation in support of public-private partnership (see chapter 4.2.2) – has been incorporated into this new Codex, some quite substantial changes have also been introduced. The most controversial ones have been those dealing with the alienation of public cultural property and the possibility to entrust private entities – both non-profit and profit – with the management of public museums, monuments and sites. Following a fierce debate, these two measures have been considerably softened in the following amendments to the Codex. The possibility to hand over the management of public cultural property to the private sector was, in fact, explicitly excluded by Leg. Decree 156/2006, whereas new measures to prevent the alienation or improper economic exploitation of public cultural property were adopted by Leg. Decree 63/2008.
Further changes introduced by Leg. Decrees 62 and 63/2008 (respectively devoted to the heritage and landscape) may be summed up as follows:
Some ambiguity subsists in the Codex's attitude towards the much controversial issue of state-regional partnership. Whereas Article 112 envisages a more rational cooperation framework for planning agreements among the state, the regions and local authorities (requiring, among other things, an accurate definition of common objectives and implementation time span), Article 4 is considered by most as failing to solve once and for all through national legislation the too often delayed issue of a clear reallocation of competencies among the different levels of government, by entrusting instead the matter to ad hoc agreements between the Ministry and the regions (Cammelli, 2004).