Management of Italy’s heritage has been in increasing turmoil since 1993. This paper identifies and reviews significant reform attempts, including outsourcing, devolution, managerialism and privatisation. The authors propose a framework for improved understanding of the various solutions examined – distinguishing between professional and organisational centralisation. It is argued that while decentralised organisational management can have positive effects, effective protection of heritage in Italy over the centuries has depended on a complex set of rules concerning stewardship and protection, relying upon centralised professional control. This still has positive value and needs to be preserved through the reform process.
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