Along with the state, the 8 101 municipalities are by now undoubtedly the most prominent public actors and funding source in Italy’s cultural scene, so much so that, notwithstanding the cuts undergone since 2008 (-19%), the total amount of their expenditure for culture in 2013 – 1 990 million EUR (ISTAT data).– was still substantially higher than the expenditure by MIBACT itself for the same year: 1 609 million EUR.
Through their municipal departments for culture / “assessorati comunali alla cultura”, they play a paramount role in the direct and indirect (see chapter 1.3.3) management of municipal cultural institutions: museums and sites, archives, libraries, theatres, multifunctional cultural centres, etc.
Italian municipalities are also investing highly in the restoration and maintenance of their historic assets, albeit under the supervision of the Ministry, and in building cultural premises, with special attention given, in the early 2000s, to capital investment in modern and contemporary art museums and in performing arts centres (see for instance the new MACRO – Museo Arte Contemporanea in Rome, the GAM in Turin, the GAMEC in Bergamo, the MART in Rovereto, the Museo del Novecento in Milan, and the Three Halls Auditorium by Renzo Piano in Rome.).
Municipalities also promote and support a wide range of cultural activities, actively contributing to the rich national supply ofart exhibitions, performing arts festivals, literature festivals, street events, White Nights (Notti Bianche), cultural minorities’ celebrations, etc.