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Italy encourages patrons to invest in art heritage: official

05-17-2011 16:28 BJT

ROME, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Italian government is eager to offer tax incentives to all patrons and trustees who want to invest in the preservation of the country's many artistic and cultural jewels, a Culture Ministry official says.

"We really need to introduce tax incentives to attract investors from all over the world, people who are interested in adopting our Coliseum and Pompeii because Italy's heritage is so vast the state cannot do all on its own," Mario Resca, director-general of the Culture Ministry, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Rome's Coliseum, for instance, has recently been "adopted" by world-famous Italian shoe brand Tod's, which will be investing some 25 million euros in a major restyle project aimed at recovering the ancient amphitheatre's original beauty.

But foreign brands are also welcomed. Earlier this month, French luxury group Louis Vuitton signed a 2.5-million-euro agreement with Rome city authorities for remodeling the typical ancient Roman cobblestone streets in the historic center.

The Italian government hopes that these will be the first of a series of partnerships between the public and private sectors to safeguard historical sites, art galleries and monuments from falling apart.

It's all a matter of care and passion, said Resca. "I have worked at the ministry since three years ago and my strategy has always been to motivate social and economic protagonists in contributing to the preservation of Italy's artistic patrimony. My vision is focused on stimulating this approach as it is done all over the world."

Other promotional means by which to boost revenues for the cultural sector is through the extension of museums' opening hours and the launch of special celebrity campaigns which stand as a unique opportunity to lure more visitors.

"We need to promote what is one of the main assets of our country. After all, Italy owns a great part of the Western civilization, the Romans contributed in spreading civilization all over Europe and our goal is to showcase to humanity in the best ways possible such cultural and artistic accomplishments," Resca said.

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