Italy plans reforms of museum management

Reforms include several major Rome sites

Italy is changing the way its 20 most important museums and heritage sites are managed, according to radical reforms announced by the country's culture minister Dario Franceschini.

The restructuring plan, presented on 30 August, gives full managerial and financial autonomy to the 20 sites, with a transparent public selection leading to the best qualified directors or "super managers" being hired from either Italy or abroad. Franceschini said the museums "were selected using specific criteria, not only based on their visitor numbers but also their potential."

The reforms are designed to disentangle museum management from politics and put an end to what the ministry describes as "excessive multiplication of lines of command", leading to the loss of 37 positions in middle management.

In Rome the plan covers the Galleria Borghese, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM) and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica at Palazzo Barberini, as well as the Colosseum, the Museo nazionale romano, and the city's archaeological sites.

The plan also includes public-private partnerships. Franceschini gave the example of a pedestrian link between Fiumicino airport and the adjacent Portus archaeological site at the Port of Traiano. This "extraordinary idea" would allow passengers waiting on connecting flights to make the "three-minute" walk to "one of the most beautiful places in the world, visit the archaeological site and then come back to take the plane."

The 20 sites affected by the plan include the Uffizi in Florence, the Brera in Milan and the Accademia in Venice. For full list see the Beni Culturali website.