The first regional law in Italy to promote the recognition and enhancement of historical cemeteries

On 15 December 2022, Regione Emilia-Romagna, Italy, approved the law enhancing regional cemeteries and expanding user gratification. The new law provides for everything from multimedia productions to tourist routes and funding for restoration and conservation projects, cataloging, exhibitions, and programs.

The monumental cemetery of the Certosa in Bologna and those in Ferrara and San Cataldo in Modena, plus the Villetta in Parma, accommodate simple tombstones, grandiose chapels, and absolute masterpieces. This long list has about eighty culturally “significant” cemetery sites in Emilia-Romagna, which can rely on an additional tool beginning today.

The law approved by the Legislative Assembly was put forward by the Regional Council for the Recognition and Enhancement of Monumental and Historical Cemeteries. The goal, in short, is to ensure the enhancement, preservation, and promotion of these assets, encouraging their use by citizens.

Mauro Felicori
, the regional councilor for Culture and Landscape, stated, “Through this law, the first of its kind in Italy, the Region intends to recognize significant cemeteries as elements of the regional cultural heritage to be safeguarded and enhanced, as a tool for the cohesion and cultural growth of communities and all visitors. Also, the law will support a shared path through which a series of public and private players in the area can work to expand the enjoyment of this part of our regional cultural heritage, going beyond memory while simultaneously placing it within a European-wide perspective.”

Under the new law, membership in the “Monumental and Historical Cemeteries in Emilia-Romagna” network will provide the structures with national and international visibility through multimedia productions made by the Emilia-Romagna Region’s Cultural Heritage sector (publications and a website on significant cemeteries), as well as all communication materials distributed by the Region itself. They will also be included in a unique cultural tourism route marked with signposts and a logo.

Above all, Emilia-Romagna’s “significant” cemeteries will be able to take advantage of regional funding for restoration and preservation projects of the sites’ architectural, decorative, and monumental structures. Furthermore, the enhancement projects will consolidate knowledge of the cemetery site, its relations with the community, and historical-artistic emergencies.

Specifically, heritage cataloging and study activities, exhibitions and cultural programs, digital and multimedia projects, intercultural inclusion, residential projects for artists and researchers, school visits, and historical and cultural education will be eligible for funding. Lastly, staff involved in managing and enhancing Emilia-Romagna’s monumental cemeteries will have access to training courses.

The text of the law (in Italian) is available here: