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Legislation Protecting Italian Cultural Heritage

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This is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, a senior legal information analyst at the Law Library of Congress. Dante is a frequent contributor to In Custodia Legis. His recent posts relate to Roman and Canon law collections, rules on the election of a new pontiff, the treasures of the Italian Parliamentary Libraries and international arbitration law in Mexico.

While performing research on Italian legislation for the Global Legal Monitor (GLM) I came across Decree-Law No. 83 of 2014 promoting the protection of cultural property in Italy. We recently published a short GLM article featuring the key aspects of Decree-Law No. 83. Of particular interest were some references in the Decree-Law to the promotion of specific cultural projects throughout Italy that include work to restore and protect amazing national monuments, palaces, gardens, and infrastructure, among others.

Arch of Constantine, photo by Dante Figueroa, April 2013
Arch of Constantine, photo by Dante Figueroa, April 2013

Such projects include the Major Pompeii Project (Grande Progetto Pompei), which was approved by European Commission Decision C(2012) 2154 of March 29, 2012.  (Decree-Law No. 83, art. 2(1).) In addition, the following restoration activities are listed in article 3(1) of Decree-Law No. 83:

  1. the Palace of Caserta (Reggia di Caserta);
  2. the Royal Park (Parco reale);
  3. the English Garden (Giardino “all’inglese);
  4. the Oasis of Saint Silvestre (Oasi di San Silvestro);
  5. at the Caroline Aqueduct (Acquedotto Carolino ).

I also noticed that, on June 25, 2014, the Italian Parliament passed a bill recognizing and defining “cultural heritage professionals” as qualified persons who intervene in the protection, conservation, development, and enjoyment of cultural property. Cultural heritage professionals include archeologists, archivists, librarians, art historians, and restorers, among others.  The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism must maintain a national registry for the registration of these professionals. The requirements for registration will be established in an inter-ministerial decree to be enacted on or before February 5, 2015.

Colosseum, photo by Dante Figueroa, April 2013
Colosseum, photo by Dante Figueroa, April 2013

In addition, the Italian Parliament has published on its website several studies on the topic of cultural heritage protection. These include:

Here at the Law Library I have come across a large number of legal materials that refer to the protection of Italy’s vast and ancient cultural patrimony. For example, we have at least ten treatises commenting on Italy’s Code of Cultural Property and Landscape alone! These are:

We hope that our readers will take advantage of our numerous resources related to the legal protection of Italy’s cultural heritage. The Law Library of Congress Reading Room is open to the public six days a week. To access materials you will need a Library of Congress Reader Identification Card. You can also submit questions to our legal reference specialists through the Ask a Librarian form on our website.

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