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Settis, Salvatore

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

La Repubblica - Italy | 21/12/2010

Salvatore Settis praises private initiative for public art

The Louvre museum in Paris has acquired the painting titled The Three Graces by Lucas Cranach thanks to a fund-raising drive that gathered a million euros. Salvatore Settis, an Italian art historian, praises the initiative as a healthy combination of common good and private interests: "He who donates renounces for the sake of the common good. A museum that launches a fund-raising campaign gains not just a painting but also the participation of the citizens in its life, its future. ... We must try to revive the function of the museum, to involve it once more in dialogue with the city - as a nucleus of social life. A city must see itself reflected in its museums. ... They should be its essence, housing its past and collective memories. It should not be a hortus conclusus that all too easily becomes a ghetto, a cemetery for art, and later a strongroom for assets that are then released for sale. ... We must push ourselves and those who govern us to take responsibility. Taking care of our museums is not about preserving the past, but the future."

La Repubblica - Italy | 09/06/2010

Skyscapers vs. St. Peter's Basilica

The Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno, a member of the conservative ruling party, is relaxing the ban on the construction of new buildings that are higher than the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The left-liberal daily La Repubblica says this is the right diagnosis but the wrong medicine to cure the housing problems in the suburbs. "The gruesome urban sprawl that poses a threat not just to Rome but all our cities requires new urban planning. However it must not be carried out overnight but with respect for long traditions (and the constitution). … To take the height of old buildings as a benchmark for shaping the skyline of the modern city may seem conventional but it conceals the symbolism of an ethic of self-control, the notion of the uniform, inspired city pregnant with memories. What Mayor Alemanno describes as a taboo is precisely the contrary: a well-thought-out, conscious decision that not only preserves our history but points the way into the future."

La Repubblica - Italy | 22/03/2009

Italy to become a concrete jungle

To help the construction sector out of the crisis the Italian government plans to pass legislation allowing the enlargement of buildings by up to 30 percent without the need for a building permit. Writing in the left-liberal daily La Repubblica Salvatore Setti warns of the potential dangers of the so-called "cement decree": "And what if it's a historic building we're talking about? … Laws protecting historic buildings are not just being ignored but deliberately trampled underfoot with this policy. Legal security is being set aside to make way for rampant deprivation of rights. Even the building permits that were granted post-construction under the governments of [Bettino] Craxi (1985) and [Silvio] Berlusconi (1994, 2003, 2004) and that protected and encouraged those who turn Italy into a concrete jungle pale in comparison. The pretext of the economic crisis can't disguise the crucial fact that [the decree] is a pre-emptive amnesty for those who ruin the country with their building aberrations. It not only legitimises their actions and grants them impunity but also encourages something that up to now had been a punishable offence and puts our cities and countryside at the mercy of the cement party - so they can be plundered by unscrupulous speculators."

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | 30/11/2008

New Acropolis Museum with open wounds

In spring 2009, the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, which was originally supposed to be ready in time for the 2004 Olympics, will open its doors to the public. Salvatore Settis, Italy's most well-known culture preserver and president of the National Culture Council, has visited the museum and calls for the return of 56 sculptures that Lord Elgin snatched and brought to England in the 19th century. "The centre-piece is the Parthenon hall. ... The remaining original works are exhibited along with reproductions of those that were taken to London. The play of light and colours of the copies point to open wounds and are like a silent but urgent cry for the return of the Elgin sculptures that the British Museum calls its own. It refuses to return them to their country of origin. ... Occupying the place of honour is the fragment of the Parthenon Temple which was returned from Heidelberg University's classical collection in 2006."

La Repubblica - Italy | 08/08/2008

Culture without a budget

Salvatore Settis, Director of the Normal School for Advanced Studies in Pisa and advisor to the Italian Ministry of Culture, criticises cuts in the state culture budget. In an opinion piece published in La Repubblica, Settis comments on an article that recently appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. "The cuts of over a billion euros mean a drastic restriction of the activities of the Culture Ministry. ... Even before the cuts, the culture budget was one of the lowest in Europe at 0.28 percent of the GDP. Anyone who voices concern at this measure is accused of etatism. ... Meanwhile, however, our neighbours are forming their own judgements, which will be pitiless. ... Yet behind every word lies a wholehearted love for Italy and its culture. Not only do the budget cuts put the future of our cultural heritage at risk, they also badly damage our country's image."

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