Italy’s largest bank by assets, Intesa Sanpaolo, has announced a deal with the country’s culture ministry to inject €5 billion into the Italian tourism sector. A big chunk of that money will be used for restoration and redevelopment projects, making more buildings available for cultural use. The investment will take place over three years and will also include money for training of workers in the tourism sector, technological innovation and modernization of accommodations. Italy’s tourism sector makes up almost 12 percent of national GDP and accounts for 12.8 percent of Italian jobs, according to a study carried out by the Intesa Sanpaolo group. The same data measured 117 million visitors to the country last year, amounting to 403 million total overnight stays.
“I’m really happy with this agreement which marks a change of direction in how tourism is dealt with; a sector in which we not only have to get out of a crisis, but also to steer a strong growth,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini. “I say to entrepreneurs: invest in tourism! There’s a need for both the public and private sectors to play their part.”
2018 has been named ‘the year of Italian food in the world by Franceschini, who said the ministry would focus on promoting some of the country’s lesser-known delicacies, alongside its world-renowned wines, cheeses and pastries.
Recent years have seen a string of famous Italian sites renovated with funds from private donors, often from Italy’s two most globally renowned sectors, luxury fashion and food. In November, Italy’s largest prosciutto producer announced it would fund the restoration of an underground fresco in Naples’ catacombs and earlier in the year, food chain Eataly pledged to pay for a €1 million hi-tech restoration of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. Last April, an insurance company announced it would finance a restoration of Venice’s Royal Gardens and fashion house Gucci said it would fund a revamp of the Boboli Gardens in Florence. Other sites that received makeovers from private donors include Rome’s Colosseum, paid for by the owner of Tods Shoes, Diego Della Valle; Trevi Fountain restoration by the Fendi fashion family and the Spanish Steps paid for by the famous Roman jeweler Bulgari.