Italy’s economy is the third-largest in Europe and the country is the fourth-biggest tourist destination in the world after France, the U.S. and Spain. But with debt totaling €1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion) and the government having introduced three packages of austerity measures in one year, funding for the arts is in short supply.
Agence France-Presse (via Raw Story) reports that only 0.21 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product is allotted to culture. That’s €1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion) that has to get partitioned out for keeping archaeological sites intact and providing for contemporary artists and their work. Both the La Scala opera house and Piccolo Teatro in Milan had their budgets cut by €17 million euros ($22.4 million) last year.
Some analysts predict that the loss to Italy’s economy could be “permanent.” The Wall Street Journal reports that sales of foreign cars had fallen 21% in the first quarter, as Italians face higher income taxes, higher property taxes and a value-added tax increase.
As writer (of The Name of the Rose) and professor Umberto Eco says,
“Something isn’t working. We haven’t learnt how to make money from our national culture.”
Photo of the Colosseum by debs-eye
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