Conservation Heritage Italy

Italy pledges €135m to restore southern heritage sites

The under-funded region’s cultural patrimony gets special attention

The medieval walls of Lecce are due for a refurb

The Italian ministry of culture has pledged more than €135 million to restore 46 heritage sites across four southern regions. “This is the most important action taken in recent years for the cultural patrimony of the south of Italy,” the cultural minister, Dario Franceschini, said in a statement. Compared to the country’s industrialised north, cultural heritage is under-funded in the poorer south.

The Campania region is expected to get the greatest share of the funding: €43.1m for five projects, including €11.4m to renovate the 18th-century Reggia di Caserta, one of the world’s largest royal palaces and a designated Unesco World Heritage Site.

Sicily follows with €33.7m, which will be spread across ten museums and archaeological site in the cities of Syracuse, Ragusa and Trapani as well as an additional site at Gela, on the Mediterranean coast. Fifteen projects in Puglia will share a total of €31.8m, including the restoration of the ancient walls of the town of Lecce, a major tourist attraction in the region. Calabria is due to receive €26.8m for 14 sites, with a further nine earmarked for future development. The overhaul of the historic centres of Cosenza, the seat of the region’s main university, and the provincial capital Catanzaro are among the projects scheduled to begin immediately.

The ministry’s latest pledge adds to the €222m distributed last September to 87 other restoration projects around the country.

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