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Arts and cultural sector in Italy - statistics & facts

The promotion of cultural development is part of the 12 fundamental principles in the Constitution of the Italian Republic. In 1985, to support the arts and cultural industry, the Italian government established a Fund for the Performing Arts (FUS). In 2020, the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) allocated a budget of 2.45 billion euros to finance culture, heritage, and tourism. Looking at the funds dedicated to performing arts, it is estimated that the MiBACT will assign the highest figure to opera foundations, followed by the live music sector and theater. As the industry was hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Italian government implemented a series of financial measures, including an emergency fund of 245 million euros for performing arts, cinema, and the audiovisual sector in 2020.

The cultural production system in Italy

The Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Craft and Agriculture (Unioncamere) and the Symbola foundation analyze the cultural production system by dividing it into two main industries: cultural and creative. Culture industries, which form the core of the sector, refer to performing and audiovisual arts as well as museums, libraries, archives, monuments, and historical places. In 2018, the added value of museums and similar cultural institutions slightly rose compared to the previous year, amounting to 2.85 billion euros. As of the same year, the books, printed media, and publishing industry registered the highest added value of the core industries.

On the other hand, creative industries, also defined as creative driven, are those which implement cultural contents and experiences to increase the value of their products, while not being directly involved in the sector. This is the case for architecture and design, as well as the communication and branding industries, where added value reached 8.8 billion euros and 4.9 billion euros in 2018, respectively. Overall, the added value of the cultural production system in Italy rose steadily since 2013, peaking at 95.7 billion euros in 2018. The employment figures also experienced a positive trend, as the number of people working for the Italian cultural production system increased gradually between 2013 and 2018, reaching 1.55 million.

Admission and attendance

When considering admission and attendance at cultural events in Italy, data reveal that the highest number of admissions was recorded at film shows in 2018, while sports activities, fairs and exhibitions followed on the list. As of this year, the Italian regions of Lombardy, Lazio, and Emilia-Romagna registered the most cinema admissions. By contrast, dance activities and concertinos recorded the highest attendance in 2018. Overall, admissions to cultural activities in Italy peaked in December, while the highest attendance levels were visible in the summer months.

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Arts and cultural sector in Italy

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