Following catastrophic floods that have crippled the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy has announced a plan to raise museum admission fees across the country by €1 in an attempt to help save “cultural heritage” that has been damaged during the floods, according to a report by The Art Newspaper.
The price hike is part of a €2 billion aid package announced by Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano which would run for a scant three months, only at state-run museums, from June 15 through September 15. Still, there is some controversy over how much good the meager price hike would actually do.
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According to The Art Newspaper, “some cultural commentators [warn such a measure] could drive Italians away from museums” and, already, only around 20% of the Italian population visited a museum in 2022.
Critics say that the price hike will hurt those who already found museum admission fees too pricey.
“I don’t think that this policy is right, if only for an evident lack of social equality,” Giuliano Volpe, a professor of archaeology at the University of Bari and former advisor to Dario Franceschini, the former culture minister, told The Art Newspaper. “The country should be helping the young and unemployed.”
Some Italian government officials, like Vittorio Sgarbi, a culture ministry undersecretary, have been calling for free museum entrance and pushing back against the price hike. Meanwhile others believe a small price hike is exactly what the institutions need. “This contribution from all could really resolve a dramatic situation,” Giordano Bruno Guerri, president of the Fondazione Vittoriale, told the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
The floods have damaged at least 75 historic buildings, 6 archaeological sites, 12 libraries and archives, according to The Art Newspaper. On Thursday, the Italian government mobilized the illustrious Blue Helmets to help locate and save any historical works.