The State Museum of San Marino was established in the second half of the 19th century, thanks to a series of donations from all over the world. In this context, the Museum did not emerge as a result of a clear culture strategy, but rather an assembled collected of works donated irrespective of their origin, history and quality. With the public administration reform in 1983, the State Museum became autonomous. Since then, and until 2001, almost all works were stored in places not accessible to the public and to researchers. On 18 March 2001, the Museum was reopened to the public in the ancient Palazzo Pergami-Belluzzi.
A similar story precedes the establishment of the State Library which owes its birth and future development to many donations. Established in 1839, it was opened to the public in 1858 in Palazzo Valloni, where it is still located. Initially book lending and consultation was prohibited. It was not until many years later when the Library was open to the public at least once a week. The first inventory and catalogue, though incomplete, were made in 1890. From the beginning, a lack of economic and human resources made it very difficult for the Library to meet the needs of a population extremely interested in education, who asked for precise opening hours and days and for an enlargement of the archive. In 1983, the State Library witnessed a physical and legal revolution, in that it became fully independent from the State Museum and its administration, with which it had shared the seat in Palazzo Valloni until that time. The reader became the ultimate target of this new public institution and contacts were established with schools, the territory and the population. The Documentation Centre was created in the framework of this restructuring, to trace, collect and select all information coming from various sources, so as to guarantee a clear picture of San Marino’s social and economic evolution. The State Library is still governed by a regulation of 1909, subsequently amended in 1914 and 1920. Therefore, the adoption of a new law is a top priority in order to supersede the anachronistic and inapplicable provisions now in force.
The contributions and interventions of the recently established banking foundations play a fundamental role, especially those of two major San Marino banks. The first is the Cassa di Risparmio, opened in 1882, which regularly invests in social and cultural activities and has allocated significant funds for the purchase of art works. In 2001, it provided funding to the State Museum, on the occasion of its re-opening to the public. The second is the Cassa Rurale di Depositi e Prestiti di Faetano, established in 1920 and now named Banca di San Marino. Other banking institutions such as the Banca Agricola Commerciale and the Central Bank, have provide support to social, cultural and artistic projects such as the publication of books and other material on the history of San Marino, the promotion of local or foreign artistic and historical heritage events and the sponsorship of exhibition catalogues.
The involvement of banking institutions was linked primarily to occasional events and not as part of any specific strategic plan. Following the creation of banking foundations, their contribution to and management of such cultural initiatives became part of a long-term planning policy. These foundations, regulated by Law n. 130 of 1995, are non-profit private corporations with full legal capacity and statutory and managerial autonomy. These foundations provide funding to projects either directly or in cooperation with other bodies or foundations.
The contribution of the San Marino Foundation – Cassa di Risparmio della Repubblica di San Marino – SUMS (est. 2002) and of the Ente della Cassa di Faetano Foundation can take two forms: direct financial support to various projects upon request and sponsorship of institutional or international events. At present, these two Foundations are cooperating with the Music Association “Allegro Vivo” in the organisation of the International Piano Competition – Repubblica di San Marino, which is also receiving support from the San Marino Music Institute, the San Marino National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministries of Culture, Tourism and Foreign Affairs. Moreover, both Foundations, in agreement with the Renata Tebaldi Foundation and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Culture, and with the support of numerous San Marino entrepreneurs, have promoted the newly established international singing competition dedicated to Renata Tebaldi, under the aegis of Entities such as the Scala in Milan and the San Carlo in Naples. Therefore, in the musical field, these kinds of high-level events have helped in promoting the image of San Marino as a centre of promotion and production of classical events. Despite some structural deficiencies, which prevent the organisation of big events, this sector is extremely lively in San Marino, thus influencing the reshaping and growth of San Marino, as well as its alignment with the cultural standards of the most advanced musical civilisations.
In 2004, 2005 and 2006 the San Marino Foundation supported, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the Office for Social and Cultural Activities, “ARTMIX – San Marino Young Artists”, consisting of a series of events in the field of visual arts, music, theatre and cinema. This project paid special attention to training, to identifying new production methods and to the participation of the public. The same goes for SMIAF, the Festival of Youth Knowledge; since it was established in 2007, this festival has been supported by the same Foundation and, over the years, it has become more and more a meeting point for the creation of new knowledge, by giving birth not only to mere performances, but to a real interactive and intercultural environment.
The Ente della Cassa di Faetano Foundation is mainly committed to supporting local projects in the fields of culture, arts, education, sports, economic development, health and scientific research and protection of the weakest groups of society. Its activities are based on a multi-year programme, which clearly defines the sectors and the relevant projects which will eventually receive support. For its first three years of activity, this Foundation decided to concentrate on arts, culture and sports. In 2001, on the occasion of 1700th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic, the Banca di San Marino, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Cultural Institutes, made an important contribution to art by ordering a big painting from a San Marino artist, having as theme the major episodes in the history of the Republic. The Foundation announced a competition in 2002 on “Globalisation”, open to the artists living in San Marino and in the nearby area. Out of 200 works submitted and exhibited at the State Museum, 12 were selected for the Bank’s 2003 calendar. The Foundation, together with the Ministry of the Interior, created another project to disseminate documents preserved in the State Archive through three publications and the Internet.
The Banca Centrale Foundation was established in March 2005 by the Central Bank of the Republic of San Marino. It is also a non-profit organisation and its primary objective is training in the fields of economy, law and international relations. Among the Foundation’s activities are: the promotion of studies, seminars, meetings, cultural and research activities in these specific sectors and the dissemination of initiatives to improve and expand knowledge on the conditions necessary for the Republic’s economic, social and cultural progress. As provided for by its Statute, the Foundation accepts proposals made by labour and training institutions regarding the implementation of possible projects.
In 2005, in the context of the initiatives celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Social Security Institute, San Marino Foundation and the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation co-sponsored a competition for the realisation of a work of art to be placed in the vicinity of the State Hospital. In consideration of the high quality of the 26 projects submitted, the examining commission suggested the organisation of an exhibition open to all citizens and expressed the hope that at least some of these projects be realised and placed in adequate public spaces. Also in 2005, a new school was inaugurated in Faetano (one of the nine administrative divisions of the Republic), thanks to the cooperation between the State and the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation. The importance of this cooperation is due to the fact that, for the first time, the private and the public sectors collaborated in the implementation of a public project. Another project realised by the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation in 2009 is the restructuring of Villa Manzoni, which is part of the country’s cultural growth process through the enhancement of its cultural and environmental heritage. All San Marino citizens consider Villa Manzoni a historical, cultural and affective heritage, which Ente Cassa brought to new life in 2013, after four years of careful restoration, thus returning the residential building to the San Marino community and transforming it into an important centre for San Marino social and cultural life: a lively artistic area, open to everybody, hosting arts, history, music, literature and any other artistic expression. The complex of Villa Manzoni has also been enriched with some works by Arnaldo Pomodoro, the very first in the country, acquired by the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation.
In 2006, the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation established the “San Marino Award”, a cash award in favour of San Marino citizens who, because of the importance of their initiatives, have become renowned in the civil, humanities, science, arts, technology, labour or sports field and who pay honour to the Republic around the world. The final prize is a bronze sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro and a sum of money, the half of which goes to a San Marino solidarity association chosen by the winner. The San Marino Award is not only a celebratory event, on the contrary, its aim is to effectively contribute to the country’s growth through philanthropic intervention and the recognition of the contribution offered by these citizens – residents or non-residents – to its civil, social, cultural and economic growth.
On the occasion of its first edition, the award was given to a scientist and a missionary father – who celebrate the Republic’s ideals of peace, progress and liberty through their everyday work. The winner of the second Award was a San Marino citizen, whose lively activity in the humanitarian field was recognised and appreciated.
The State Archive, also thanks to the sponsorship of the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation, is carrying out a project to place on-line important San Marino documents: a work of great historical, social and institutional importance, which makes the most rare and precious documents available to all (see also chapter 2.4).
In 2007 the Ente Cassa di Faetano Foundation contributed economically to the organisation of a competition for the project of a sculpture on the value of dialogue among cultures and peoples, which represented one of the priorities of the programme of San Marino Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, since it is a condition to build peace. For further information on this work of art, see chapter 2.5.1 and chapter 7.2.3.
See also chapter 7.2 for other specifically cultural initiatives, for which the intervention and economic support of banking Foundations has been of fundamental importance.
The Foundation “Valori Tattili”, founded in 2008, is the latest one to be established. The main objective of this banking Foundation is to create a privileged channel to support all forms of art, by encouraging cultural, artistic, scientific and social initiatives. This Foundation, responsible to the “Asset Banca” group, promotes art through exhibitions, publications, conferences, international cultural exchanges, by carrying out research activities and studies in the arts field and by collaborating with museums and institutions. Painting, sculpture, video, photography, installations and performances are part of specific exhibitions, which are displayed to enhance the cultural development of the territory. To achieve these objectives, the Foundation uses a multi-functional area, located in the building of the Bank, where initiatives can be organised throughout the year.
In 2013, the Foundation of “Asset Banca” joined the publisher of a historic newspaper of San Marino (see chapter 2.5.3).
Besides the partnership between public Institutions and banking Foundations, in summer 2009, the public and private sectors fruitfully collaborated in the organisation of an exhibition displaying some hundred works by Pop Art artist Andy Warhol, selected from the anthological collection “Collezione Rosini Gutman”. This cultural event was promoted by the Association ECSO (Economy, Growth, Development, Opportunity), under the aegis and with the support of seven Ministries and of the San Marino Foundation – Cassa di Risparmio – SUMS.
Due to the international economic and financial crisis, which has also affected the Republic of San Marino, priorities have been revised, including investments in the sector of State cultural institutions, and this has led mainly to public expenditure cuts.
On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of its establishment, Cassa di Risparmio promoted the project entitled “Alceste”, to support and favour the use of multimedia devices in all of the Republic’s schools. Thanks to a Convention signed in February 2013 with the Ministry of Education and Culture, San Marino schools are now provided with multimedia interactive whiteboards, with a view to the tutorial training of students in support of traditional didactics (for further information on this project see chapter 2.4). In 2012, the 18th edition of the “Otello Casadei Award” was celebrated. This Award is dedicated to the founder of the Popular Library of Serravalle, who was also a talented musician. Since its foundation, the San Marino Foundation has always offered its contribution to the organisation of this initiative, which aims at stimulating young people to take a challenge and to love study activities and culture in general. In 2012, the music association “Camerata del Titano” celebrated its 20th birthday. On an annual basis, it promotes the “Rassegna musicale d’autunno”, a series of concerts organised during the Autumn season with the support of the San Marino Foundation. This fruitful synergy is renewed year after year in the name of culture.
To contribute to the life of young people and to the Country’s growth, in 2012 the Ente Cassa di Faetano activated the “Fondo per l’eccellenza Sammarinese” (Fund for San Marino excellence). This Fund is not an award but rather an opportunity and an incentive for San Marino young people wishing to attend training courses in some prestigious international academic institutions. This project provides for non-refundable economic support (for the time being, 180 000 EUR throughout three years) provided by the Ente Cassa di Faetano to students who have the capacity to succeed and who submit a high-level academic project in the economic, financial, scientific and humanistic fields, including music and dance sectors. The relevant competition announcement includes post-graduate specialisation courses, masters, training courses and internships lasting not less than three months.
Also, the literary contest “The first feather”, organised and promoted by Ente Cassa di Faetano, was aimed at young people. The contest’s title clearly refers to the origins of San Marino (feathers are one of the symbols of San Marino and represent the three peaks of Mount Titano) and offers young people a way to express their creativity and talents.