Information about the Law

Law of 20 February 2006 no. 77 “Special measures for the protection and use of Italian sites and elements of cultural, landscape and environmental interest, inscribed on the ‘World Heritage List’, placed under the protection of UNESCO”

The current form of Law 77/2006 “Special measures for the protection and use of Italian sites and elements of cultural, landscape and environmental interest, inscribed on the ‘World Heritage List’, placed under the protection of UNESCO” is the result of the changes brought to Law 8 March 2017 no. 44, through which the scope was extended to include the Elements registered in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural World Heritage, ad referred in the Convention for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003, in addition to the Cultural and Natural Sites inscribed in the List provided for by the Convention Concerning the Safeguarding of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972.

The Law reiterates that, due to their uniqueness, the Sites and Elements inscribed on the Lists provided for by the respective UNESCO Conventions, are points of excellence and fundamental elements of the representation of our country, including at an international level.

It involves financial measures to support the enhancement, communication and use of the Sites and Elements (art.4), intended for interventions aimed at:

  • the study of specific cultural, artistic, historical, environmental, scientific and technical problems relating to Italian UNESCO sites and elements, including the development of management plans;
  • the provision of cultural assistance and hospitality services for the public, as well as cleaning, waste collection, control and security services;
  • the creation, including in areas adjacent to the sites, of parking areas and mobility systems, provided they are functional to the sites themselves;
  • the promotion, protection and enhancement of the Italian UNESCO sites and elements, the dissemination of their knowledge and their requalification;
  • in the context of educational institutions, enhancement is also implemented through support for educational trips and cultural activities by schools;
  • d-bis) the enhancement and dissemination of the wine heritage characterising the site, in the context of the promotion of the overall traditional food and wine and agricultural-pastoral heritage.

The Law also formally recognises the Management Plans and the Safeguarding Measures Plans as indispensable tools to “ensure the conservation and enhancement of Italian UNESCO Sites and Elements” (art. 3 paragraph 1).

The list of projects financed each year is established by Decree of the Minister of Culture, in agreement with the Minister for the Environment and the Protection of the Territory and the Sea (up-to-date Ministry of Ecological Transition), with the Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry, and with the permanent Conference for relations between the State, the Regions and the autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano.

The Circular of the Secretary-General no. 24 of 28 May 2019 defines the criteria and procedures for funds allocation earmarked for the support measures.

The Circular first identifies all the possible Beneficiaries – different for Sites and Elements given the dissimilarities and specificities that characterise the Intangible Heritage (art. 1 and art. 7) -, to whom the support measures can be destined, and it defines the competences and the procedures for the identification of the “Referring Person” (art. 2 and art. 8) who provides guarantee for the Ministry referring the sharing of the requests submitted by all the subjects involved.

The Circular also defines the procedure for allocating funding, which, overall can be summarised as follows:

  • publication of the Notice for the submission of proposals for interventions on the Office’s website;

  • submission of the requests by the Referring Persons of Sites and Elements according to the methods of the Notice;

  • evaluation of the requests presented by a special inter-institutional Commission which proposes the ranking of the interventions to be funded to the Minister;

  • enactment of the Decree of the Minister of Culture Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in agreement with the coordinating bodies identified by law;

  • registration of the Decree at the Court of Auditors and subsequent communication to the Referring Persons of the Sites.

Since 2008, the year of issuing of the first funding award Decree, up to 2019, 352 projects have been funded for cultural and natural sites, for a total of 28.714.337,17 euros. Among these funds, more than five million were allocated to the preparation and updating of the Management Plans.

In 2018, for the first time, funding was also assigned to the Elements of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, in addition to the Sites; up to date, 9 projects have been funded for the Elements, for a total of 859.673,00 euros.

Concerning lEF 2020, owing to the extraordinary condition caused by the sanitary emergency, which posed limitations to the possibility of Cultural Heritage use and enhancement, there is a process ongoing for an extra funds allocation distributed equally to all UNESCO Sites and Elements who ask for them.

An amount of 1.300.979. 89 euros has been allocated to sustain the use and protection of Sites and Elements, and applications for grants received following the reopening of the terms of the Notice are under evaluation.