“We want culture to be at the core of Italy’s bet and its government’s challenge. There is a priority, to give centrality to culture, because it is the raison d’etre of our belonging to a community”. Renzi, supported by the Minister Franceschini, presented to the press the 20 new directors of the main Italian museums, that were granted autonomy by the culture reform.”Culture is the fundamental value; it is a priority”.
On their choice, there have been many controversies, the first of them concerning the fact that seven directors were not Italian citizens. All of them speak Italian in an excellent way. Besides, they are the best in their fields. The diatribe on the interview, which lasted just a quarter of an hour, the minister pointed out that by law there is no need for a meeting: “We were not supposed to examine them. According to the legislation, the evaluation of the curriculum alone suffices to choose the director. We have done something new also from this point of view”.
Obviously, the newly appointed directors ask for time to integrate. Franceschini reassures that they will have total autonomy, even in relation to marketing operations and retrieval of resources. Whereas Renzi’s watchword is immediate change, Cecilie Hollberg, the new German director of the Florence Academy, does not agree with him on this point: “No, truth to be told, I would not tell you at present about the ideas, because none of us has the magic wand to say let us change everything. Besides this is not what we want”.
Franceschini’s position is similar to that of the Prime Minister. He reiterates that “our challenge is the change and the deep renovation of the Italian museum system. We are late, but we outdo many other countries in Europe because it has been the first public and international selection, open to find the directors for the 20 most important national museums, that involved 1,200 candidates“.
What is it that is changing in the Italian cultural system then? Whereas previously the museum spaces did not exist from a legal point of view, as of today, the local department offices will be responsible for protection. Museums will depend on the General Direction of the Museums. The new directors have been only the last step of the reform.
If we renew the management of a nation’s culture, we renew the nation itself, and Italy is following the guidelines given by the European Union. “Renzi’s presence today is the proof of the completion of a challenging path that does not involve only Mibact, but the entire Government – has continued the minister Franceschini – what has been done is a truly significant change for the country”.
The minister said also that he was pleased with the interest of the public opinion in this issue: “This is the first public selection of 20 directors for the largest museums and it is really the first time that a topic of this kind has obtained public opinion instead of remaining a niche topic. Today we have had a meeting with the directors. There we have presented to them the situation from which we depart”.
“Italy is different from other countries, it is a system that has its strong points. If we support autonomy with the strength of the system, we will be beyond competition: Italy is the country of a thousand villages and of 4 thousand museums” concluded the minister. The new directors will take service in November. All of them have received greetings from the premier. With Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the new 34-year-old direction of the archaeological area of Paestum, Renzi joked, while shaking his hand: “you are the one who will scrap all of us, except Franceschini, he cannot be scrapped. Good luck”.