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Cultural institutes are being reorganised, uniting in a single body all administrative, organisational and structural functions.


The Montefeltro region has been established as a cultural district which provides for incentives, financing and tax reliefs for cultural associations and artists.

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San Marino/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

Policy priorities in the cultural sector have been mainly linked to the government's aim to foster economic development in San Marino. They are:

  • interventions in the sector of public works and infrastructures with regard to: creation of a new museum centre in the City of San Marino based on a project designed by Architect Tadao Ando, connecting the State Museum, the Pianello cisterns, the Liburnis' Garden and the Crossbowers' Galleries; conversion of the "Turismo" cinema (near the historic centre) into a multi-functional area; town-planning enhancement of the areas "Cava Antica" and "Cava degli Umbri" (within the walls of the ancient town); functional recovery of the premises of Palazzo Kursaal; rationalisation and putting together of university branches;
  • encouragement of the joint management of the whole museum system, so that it can become internationally attractive (Modern Art National Gallery, recovery of the Museum dedicated to Garibaldi and of the Philatelic and Numismatic Museum);
  • reorganisation of the social centres, also through integration with other cultural Institutes;
  • development of the theatre sector;
  • establishment of private enterprises in the sector of day and night entertainment, including cinemas;
  • adoption of regulations and agreements governing private-public partnerships in order to help promote volunteer and independent initiatives;
  • with regard to the territorial tourist offer, event promotion policies should be a priority; to this end, it is necessary to involve public and private resources in the organisation of consolidated events, also of an international nature, especially by exploiting arts as an attractive and qualifying element;
  • promotion of highly prestigious events and involvement of San Marino in the international cultural and artistic debates;
  • introduction of more comprehensive legislation for the management and protection of collective artistic heritage, that is goods having a historical, cultural, artistic and architectural value, thus providing for their recording, description, cataloguing and relevant protection modalities;
  • enhancement of the archaeological heritage, by favouring specific studies on San Marino sites and preparing ad hoc visits;
  • recovery and organisation of archives of public and private interest with the use of adequate structures;
  • strengthening of the collaboration with the Adriatic Riviera and the Montefeltro with a view to developing a comprehensive project to enhance the landscape, culture, arts and fascinating features of the most ancient Republic in the world;
  • strengthening of the link between tourist and cultural activities, including those that can be promoted through the University;
  • review of the regulations of the Supervisory Commission to extend its control;
  • enhancement and strengthening of the San Marino Radio and Television Broadcasting Company also through an assessment of the best possible strategic partnership options, in the light of the on-going technological developments and of internationally available opportunities for new forms of broadcasting and multimedia collaboration;
  • amendment of the publishing legislation to promote the sector, guarantee professionalism of operators and protect citizens;
  • development of the library service through the opportunities offered by the Library Network of Emilia Romagna and San Marino, by strengthening services on the territory and adapting the structures;
  • management of the property "Historic Centre of San Marino and Mount Titano" – included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO on 7 July 2008 (see chapter 4.2.2 and chapter 4.3 for details) – through the transposition of the requirements guaranteeing that the Republic continues to be part of the List and the definition of a specific regulation for "peculiar goods" at the basis of the UNESCO recognition;
  • creation of a new development model combining culture, cultural heritage and creativity together with tourism and new entrepreneurship (see the Cultural District project hereunder); and
  • support to national cultural events enhancing the attractiveness of the country, co-financed by the State and provided with special services (art. 66 of 2015 Budget Law).

The Ministry of Culture has worked on the reorganisation of cultural institutes, with the aim to unite in a single body all administrative, organisational and structural functions common to all cultural institutes. By doing so, the sector was reorganised and simplified, also with a view to achieving savings and implementing Law no. 188/2011 (Reform of the Structure and the Organisational Model of the Public Administration), without actual mergers. Indeed, such mergers could jeopardise the role of the State Museum, Archive and Library, which require highly specialised management skills.

Like many other States, over the last years San Marino has suffered from the effects of the global crisis, which of course has had increasing repercussions on the State budget, thus requiring cuts in public expenditure. These cuts have impacted on cultural investments. For this reason, the expenditure for external advice has been partly cut, with particular reference to the cinema review "Occhi sul Cinema, incontri col cinema d'autore" concerning art cinema (see chapter 8.2.2) and the Theatre Season.

As regards this sector, reduced budgets required choices that, however, have proven not to be negative. The State, indeed, can no longer afford to organise theatre programmes with numerous performances or to support additional theatre performances attracting only niche audiences. However, in San Marino theatre audiences are increasing (+ 33.7% recorded in 2012), notwithstanding the reduced number of performances during the season. In spite of the economic crisis, students' interest is growing exponentially and online purchases of tickets have increased. Also, ticket sales are changing: audiences prefer to buy individual tickets for shows of interest instead of season tickets.

The international economic scenario is all but encouraging. During 2011 and 2012, the government, and more generally the political class, has expressed the intention to change this scenario through arts and culture, which should be based on new development models. The idea is to continue to organise artistic and cultural initiatives, aimed at successfully promoting development and favouring an alternative economic development, despite the strong awareness that financial resources are becoming more and more limited. In this sense, it would be desirable to create a San Marino artistic and cultural centre and an exhibition area larger than that of the SUMS Building (for further details, see chapter 7.1).

The Budget Law approved in December 2013 and the subsequent so-called "Development Decree" contain the project of a "cultural district", defined by the Government as a "substrate for the growth of businesses that are the backbone of the knowledge economy" in order to reinvigorate San Marino's economy and create a new image of the country. The Government is working on this opportunity – considered by some as the only possible choice – which counts on culture to relaunch the San Marino economy: a district providing for incentives, financing and tax reliefs for cultural associations and artists, as well as a regulatory framework creating a friendly environment for the development of businesses, not only cultural ones, and the continuation of their activities. The synergy between the public and the private sector is fundamental: on the one hand, the State ensures pluralism of all artistic expressions, on the other, culture can finance itself to avoid being affected by cuts due to the crisis. The project of the cultural district encompasses a vast territory, covering the entire Montefeltro region.

A lot has been done to establish this district in order to create job opportunities in the cultural sector such as: the functional reorganization of Cultural Institutes (State Museums, Library, Archives and former Office of Social and Cultural Activities (UASC), converted into the Performing Arts Institute, a single Operational Unit responsible for the management of human and material resources); University reform (which has generated growing cultural opportunities, new chances for local graduates and support to the development projects); introduction of important innovations in the education system (training on the issues of dyslexia, special educational needs and multilingualism); incentives for the establishment of social enterprises (cooperatives and associations set up to flank school and families in cultural and educational processes); assignment of public spaces for the promotion of cultural heritage to social enterprises (through tenders for creative projects that can stimulate the development of cultural and creative entrepreneurship). The district is under construction; State interventions are focussed on providing spaces, staff, streamlined legislation and new legislation on start-up companies, without public funds.

As a first concrete step of the cultural district project, San Marino hosted the "Festival of Knowledge – SmArt" in August 2013. The Festival gathered young artists and different cultural associations in a single great performance in the historic centre, thus linking culture with development, labour and business and indicating it as one of the key drivers  for the future of San Marino. It consisted of a series of events to promote the human resources of the territory and to boost, through cultural exchange, economic capabilities based on innovation and creativity. This is a fundamental requirement for the development of entrepreneurship, youth employment and professional skills and offers job opportunities to young people who , supported by professionals, have explored and tried new professions and skills. Also in this case, cooperation among the public, private sectors and citizens is fundamental (see the PPP system, chapter 2.1) .

Culture as a sector of the economy and basis for future development was also the theme of the conference on the knowledge economy held on 8 April 2013 and attended by several representatives of San Marino and the Italian public and cultural life. During the event, jointly promoted by San Marino and the Emilia-Romagna region, the project of the cultural district was presented for the first time and San Marino was described as the ideal place to establish highly innovative businesses in the field of creativity. According to experts, San Marino, despite its small dimensions, has the potential to make such choices, since creative industry does not require large areas, but favourable conditions for its development (laws, physical infrastructure, technologies, a dynamic cultural environment, etc.). Being a sovereign State San Marino has its specific characteristics, including its own policies, and is an attractive place for economic and artistic activities, able to develop and attract creative businesses.

Chapter published: 07-10-2015

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