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Visit of Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Cultural activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, to the United States (New York, October 17-20, 2017)

Washington, D.C., October 20, 2017

Today marks the end of the visit by the Minister of Cultural Heritage, Cultural Activities, and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, to the United States.

During his stay in New York, the Minister took part in a ceremony which saw US authorities return various archaeological artifacts coming from illegal excavations, or which had been stolen in Italy. Among the many cultural goods returned, thanks to investigations carried out by the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale and to the work of US authorities within the framework of the bilateral 2001 Memorandum of Understanding, there is a fragment of a serpentine and porphyry mosaic from one of Emperor Caligula’s ceremonial vessels, which was found at the bottom of Lake Nemi, near Rome, during excavations carried out between 1928 and 1932. All recovered artifacts will be returned to their locations of origin. This recovery of artwork was followed with much attention by US press, as is evident from the following New York Times article. Federal and New York State authorities were present at the ceremony.

In New York, Minister Franceschini also presented “Art Bonus” a fiscal policy for anyone who supports culture with charitable donations in Italy – individuals, business and NPOs with legal headquarters in Italy – aimed at protecting and developing Italian cultural heritage with a form of tax credit for donations equal to 65% of total tax. From the end of 2014 to today, roughly 180 million euros have been donated by about 6000 patrons.

The Minister also held a series of other important meetings. In talks with Prof. David Freedberg, Director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America of Columbia University, Minister Franceschini discussed themes tied to Italian cultural policy and the Ministry’s international outlook. Following that, he took part in a presentation by the President of the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah, Dario Disegni.

In the Consulate General, the Minister also introduced an Italian film festival, with special guests Sergio Castellitto and Vittorio Storaro. This year’s edition will showcase italian contemporary films and will also focus on immigration via MigrArti, a project promoted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism to develop films on the cultural values of populations migrating to Italy.

For further information on repatriated goods, and to watch a video of the return ceremony of the artifacts, please visit Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism website (Italian only).