Monday, July 12, 2010

Just More Italian Politics?

Archaeo-Blogger David Gill reports that there has been a "swell of opinion" against proposed legislation designed to encourage the reporting of hidden artifacts in the Italian public's hands. See He is particularly impressed that there are 5,000 members on a related Facebook Site and some 3000 individuals who have signed an on-line petition against the law.

Still, I wonder if this is just the latest anti-Berlusconi effort by members of Italy's left-leaning academic community. Previously, at least 7,000 academics signed a petition decrying Berlusconi's appointment of Mario Resca, a former McDonald's executive, as Italy's museum boss. Resca was charged with alleged plans for "reducing art to a negotiable commodity" and "introducing a process of disposable consumerism" at Italy's cultural sites. See,,5356273,00.html Yet, Resca continues to serve in the post and is still trying to turn around Italy's museum establishment.

In any event, Berlusconi is perhaps even less popular with Italy's academics than President George Bush was with our own. See In the meantime, news of the legislation's demise is apparently premature. Although it has been removed as a budget measure, Gill suggests that the Italian Government may still seek to press for the change in the law.

1 comment:

Cultural Property Observer said...

Alan Walker asked me to post this comment:

I think you should be wary of characterizing people who are anti-Berlusconi as being all leftists or radicals since I don't think that's true. I also think you should be careful in how you treat Italian archaeologists who do not want to sell duplicates, etc. I talked about getting rid of duplicates with a serious archaeologist in Italy, while in a lovely local museum looking at a case containing about 20 terracottas,many from the same mold (and being told there were dozens and dozens more in storage). Ideally it's a fine idea to sell things to help pay for publication, exhibition, research, etc., but Italians know Italy, and they know that if objects were allowed to be sold as things are now, most of the money received would either disappear down a sinkhole of corruption, or be used for general governmental expenses, leaving the museum involved in the same position it was before, only with fewer items in storage. If the Italian archaeologists could be guaranteed that the funds from any items discarded would be only used to supplement increasing budgets for museums and archaeology, thus making things better, rather than be a form of self- finance leading to lower governmental support, which would be a disaster, well, they'd be going through their storerooms in a minute.