With the start of this week, and after months of closure, Italian museums, theaters and cinemas have reopened in most parts of the country. And with a plan of 6.7 billion euros (8 billion dollars), the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini now intends to revive the entire sector. “Culture will make a great contribution to the recovery of the country,” he announced.
The arts and culture sector has been one of the most affected by the pandemic. Now he’s eagerly awaiting summer for a full reboot, also thanks to outdoor events. “The strengthening of historic railways, hiking trails and cultural routes will also be essential for the development and enhancement of interior spaces from a cultural point of view. The objective is to improve the attractiveness of the Italian cultural and tourist system by modernizing its infrastructure, both tangible and intangible, ”said Minister Franceschini.
So far, in cinemas, theaters and museums, measures related to Covid-19 require booking in advance and allowing access in fixed quotas. To compensate, many of these institutions have introduced innovations designed to attract and retain new and old visitors. The daily La Repubblica covered extensively the reopening of museums in several Italian cities.
At the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, for example, 14 new rooms now house around 129 unpublished works by artists such as Andrea del Sarto, Parmigianino, Pontormo, Daniele da Volterra, Rosso Fiorentino, Bartolomeo Passerotti (his Homer enigma would have been lost for centuries), and self-portraits by Bernini, Chagall and Guttuso. About 1,500 visitors have already shown up on reopening day, and 1,000 more visitors per day have made their reservations until the end of 2021. Museum director Eike Schmidt commented: “We are waiting for the Americans to return, and when it will be time that we are also ready to welcome European tourists.
At the Pinacoteca de Brera in Milan, museum director James Bradburne has chosen to make visitors look like “shareholders”: a € 15 ticket now allows visitors to return to the museum for free as many times as they want. wish, within three months. “In the post-Covid world, our commitment is far from recreating a fragile dependence on mass tourism, and turned towards the community: the ticket becomes a card and the visitor is a stakeholder who belongs to the community of Brera”, a Bradburne explained. This type of “loyalty card” also provides access for one year to the BreraPlus platform, an online archive that brings together content ranging from documentaries to live concerts.
In Bologna, the reopening of museums is taking place today in combination with Art City, a cultural festival that takes place both indoors and outdoors in several places in the city, from traditional exhibition venues to public squares and gardens. About sixty events between exhibitions, installations and various performances take place in the city from May 7 to 9. “We are counting on art to launch a new summer season,” said Matteo Lepore, Head of Culture at Bologna City Hall.
In Turin, the Egyptian Museum (reopening for the 5th time since the start of the pandemic) registered full during the first weekend of May. While the Covid-19 visitor quotas allow around 1,300 visitors in a single day (normally they are ten times more: 13,000 per day), museum administrators have expressed satisfaction with this weekend’s figures. Yet in 2020 the museum has been closed for around 180 days, and so far in 2021 it has only been open for 15 days. “Thanks to the state funding that we have received and our savings, we will achieve a balance, and then we will see,” commented Museum President Evelina Christillin.
According to a study by EY and GESAC, before the pandemic, Europe’s cultural sector employed around 7.6 million people, with a business worth 643 billion euros ($ 774 billion). Overall, industry accounted for 4.4% of EU GDP. But with the coronavirus, the loss compared to 2019 was -31.2%, a figure even worse than tourism (which lost around 27%) and just a little better than aviation (-31.4% ).
According to recent announcements by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, a green national laissez-passer allowing free movement between Italian regions (and to those coming from abroad) will be approved in the coming weeks. This measure also aims to help museums and cultural places to recover. From mid-May, more specifically, the Italian government intends to remove the quarantine measures for Italians traveling to the country from abroad, as well as for foreign tourists from the EU, United States and Israel. At the same time, another European green pass is expected to be in place by mid-June, which will further promote tourism, travel and cultural activity. The green pass will require people to meet at least one of these conditions: have a complete vaccination cycle, have a medical certificate attesting that the person is cured of the virus, or have a negative Covid test result 48 hours before arrival in Italy. According to European sources, the green pass procedure will be digitized from the next few weeks. Currently, Italy does not accept travelers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Brazil.