On 10 March 2015 a delegation from Federutility’s funeral section SEFIT met Dario Franceschini, Italian Minister for Cultural Assets & Activities and for Tourism, in Rome. The meeting was also attended by the Ministry’s senior civil servant for tourism.
The Minister was given a brief introduction to a position paper containing SEFIT’s proposals as drafted by a round table on the cultural and tourism potential of the country’s cemeteries in Bologna, Milan, Rome, Turin, Ferrara, Trento, Parma and Genoa.
At this encounter the Minister gave orders for the following:
a) the setting up of a working party attended by experts from ANCI and Federutility SEFIT together with the top civil servants from the Ministry’s two divisions (Tourism and Cultural Assets) and its General Secretary;
b) the exploration of three main approaches:
> to see whether funding could be procured under the Structural Funds for the rehabilitation and exploitation of cemeteries as national monuments;
> to draft specific guidance to the local directorates for the use of assets belonging to cemeteries which qualify as monuments, in order to ensure a more uniform approach. Particular stress was laid on the desirability of finding out how extensively these monumental cemeteries need enhanced measures for conservation and safekeeping, and to what extent they are subject to (or free from) constraints on their use;
> opportunities for upgrading Italy’s cemeteries as tourist attractions, both in terms of their inherent monumental characteristics and for promoting visits to the tombs of famous people.
The Minister expressed a definite readiness to help safeguard the role of cemeteries as the repositories of the community’s history, with all that implies for ownership. The meeting also provided an opportunity to give a brief account of Federutility SEFIT’s campaign to persuade the government and parliament to consider the so-called “tax deductibility for burial bonuses” (AS1611), and he was asked to support this campaign in the appropriate quarters.
The SETIF co-ordinating group on enhancing cemetery use (to which also Bologna City Council’s Risorgimento Museum, Genoa City Council and ASCE in the person of its Vice-President Melissa La Maida belong) had met earlier to
work out le proposals to be put to the Minister.