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Recent trends in the italian legislation in the field of the protection of cultural goods  
Cristiana Carletti
ISSN 1127-4883     BTA - Telematic Bulletin of Art, July 11th 2000, n. 167 (March 11th 1999)

Which are the main objectives that Italian Government has fixed to achieve, in order to guarantee the valorization and the total preservation of its historic and artistic heritage? Inestimable treasures, which represent the traditions and the millenary culture, born and developed during centuries in small and big centres, over the Italian territory. In the XIII legislature, the Italian Parliament has passed and came into force some legislative provisions, very interesting for their binding force.

The L. 1 July 1997, n. 203 (on G.U. n. 155 - 5 July 1997) - "Turning into law, with changes, of the decree of 6 May 1997 n. 117, about extraordinary interventions for the strenghtening of prevention and security systems for the cultural heritage protection", provides for the adoption of installation, adjustment and modernization procedures of the prevention and security systems in order to guarantee the protection of architectonic, archaeologic, historic, artistic, bibliograpich and archives' heritage, both public and private.

The L. 8 October 1997, n. 352 (on G.U. n. 243 - 17 October 1997) - "Provisions on cultural goods", provides for the general planning of cultural activities, put in practice every year by the Ministry of Cultural and Natural Goods; this body has these functions:

  • the maintenance, protection, restoration, possibility to buy all the kinds of goods listed in L. n. 1089 and in the decree of the President of the Italian Republic of 30 September 1963, n. 1409 (art. 2);
  • the adoption of financial provisions for immovables of historic and artistic interest, or the Ministry authorization for the concession of contributions on the loans granted by banks to owners, possessors or holders of artistic and historic immovables (art. 5);
  • the adoption of provisions for the Pompei archaeologicas areas, in other words the concession for a real scientific, structural, administrative and financial indipendence (art. 9).

The L. 30 March 1998, n. 88 (on G.U. n. 83 - 10 April 1998) - "Provisions on the mobilization of cultural goods", is connected with the enforcement of the regulation by the Council of Ministries n. 3911/92 of 9 December 1992 (changed by the regulation n. 2469/96 of 16 December 1996), and the directive by the Council of Ministries 93/7/CEE (changed by the directive 96/100/CE by the Council of Ministries with the European Parliament of the 17 February 1997).

In this legislative provision are listed all the cultural goods (see the list here enclosed), the goods which are part of public collections, that have been inventoried in museums, archives, bibliographic conservation collections, the goods which are part of religious inventories (Title I, art. 2). It is prohibited to export illegally this kind of goods, permanently or temporarily (as a loan).
Italy, in particular the Ministry of Cultural and Natural Goods, is requested to act, in cooperation with the other ministries too, national, territorial and local bodies, in order to put in practice collaborations and researches, to notify the recovering of the goods illegally exported, to obtain the removal and temporal custody of it, to be an intermediate between who asks and who is accused in the friendly composition for the resolution of the debate (Title I, art. 3).
The state who asks for the restitution of the good, must do it to the judicial authority in the place in which the good is, in a time of one year from the day in which he has knew about the recovering of the good itself, anyway in a time of 30 years since the good has been illegally exported (Title I, art. 4). The competent judicial authority can compensate the part involved by a sum quantified in relation to the case (Title I, art. 6).

In this provision are explained the characteristics of the export procedure (temporary too) of a cultural good (Title II, art. 11). The owner of the good can give an export license for 6 months; if this procedure is violated, he can ask the judicial authority to act by the application of a sanction (from . 200.000 to . 1.200.000) for who has acted illegally. In order to guarantee the recovery of illegally exported cultural goods, Italy, in adapting the regulation and the directive above mentioned, must inform the Commission about the application of these european legislative measures (Title III, art. 4), and has created, in the Ministry of Cultural and Natural Goods, a specific database, in which are listed all the cultural goods illegally exported, in order to recovery them as quickly as possible (Title III, art. 15).

Finally, this provision provides for a modification of the contents of articles 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 66 of the L. n. 1089 of 1 June 1939 (Title III, art. from 17 to 23).

Annex A. Categories of goods

1. Archaeologic goods, whose age is more than 100 years, which come from:

    a) excavations in the earth or under the sea;
    b) archaeological sites;
    c) archaeological collections.

2. Elements, which are part of artistic, historic, religious monuments, and which come from the dismemberment of the monuments themselves, whose age is more than 100 years.

3. Paintings and pictures different from those of 4th and 5th categories, created by hand with all the kinds of supports and materials (1).

4. Water-colour paintings, gouache paintings and pastel paintings created by hand with all the kinds of supports.

5. Mosaics, different from tha 1st and 2nd categories, created by hand with all the kinds of materials, and pictures created by hand with every kind of support.

6. Original etchings, prints, serigraphies and lytographies with their matrix, and original advertisements (1).

7. Original statues and sculpures, with their copies realized by the same original procedure (1), different from those of the 1st category.

8. Photos, movies and their negatives (1).

9. Incunabula and manuscripts, geographic maps and musical scores, single or in collection (1).

10. Books, which age is more than 100 years, single or in collection (which age is more than 50 years, and non belonging to the author).

11. Geographic printed maps, which age is more than 200 years.

12. Archives and supports, with all sort of elements, which age is more than 50 years.


    a) Collections and specimens, coming from zoological, botanic, mineralogical, anatomic collections.
    b) Collection of historic, paleontological, etnographic and numismatic interest.

14. Modes of transport which age is more than 75 years.

15. Other antiquarian objects, not listed in categories from 1 to 14, which age is more than 50 years.



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