Country reports


Expert author: Carla Bodo
Last update: April 7th

The emergency measures taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic – with the complete lockdown of all citizens in the whole country – badly affected the cultural sector in Italy as well.

All cultural venues – theatres, music halls, cinemas, libraries, museums – along with Pompei and the most frequented historical sites – have actually been closed, bringing about the cancellation of all cultural events, and the subsequent heavy loss of income both for the public and for the commercial sector, as well as for the related workforce.

Consequently, the Legislative Decree of March 17th “Cura Italia” – aimed at helping to relaunch the country – established among other the following first measures to give some relief to the cultural sector:

  • The support of EUR 600 to be given for the month of March to the freelance employed in the performing arts, inscribed to their own social security;
  • The establishing of a fund of EUR 130 million (80 million current and 50 million capital) for the support of the performing arts, cinema and the audiovisual sector;
  • The exemption, up to April 30th 2020, from social security charges to be paid by theatres venues, cinemas, museums, historical sites, etc.;
  • The substitution of reimbursements of tickets for performing arts, museums, historical sites etcetera by vouchers of the same value to be used within one year.

The Legislative Decree, though, could undergo several changes before its final adoption by the Parliament, where several amendments have been submitted.

Meanwhile, according to a decision of the Ministry for Heritage and Cultural Activities, state theatres and opera houses are shifting their programmes to free online channels. Museums are offering their collections and exhibitions for free online as well.

Other support measures have been adopted at the regional level.

Furthermore, there is a strong boost coming from art and cultural associations and from the press, toward the creation of a special relief fund for the arts and culture, aimed at supporting the cultural sector to face the COVID-19 crisis.