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Tourism and Cultural Heritage

Enjoyment of Cultural Heritage

EU citizens
 under 18 and over 65 years of age, non-EU citizens coming from States who respect the principle of reciprocity, as well as disabled EU citizens with one relative or other companion, provided the latter prove to work for welfare and health care services (see Ministerial Decree n. 239, 20 April 2006), are entitled to enter State institutes and places of culture (e.g. museums, libraries, archives, archaeological areas and parks and monumental complexes) free of charge.

The damage, destruction, removal, etc., of Italian cultural heritage is punished with a prison term of six months to one year and a fine between €775 and €38,734.50.

Trade of Cultural Heritage Works

Tourists who buy paintings, sculptures or antiques, etc., are entitled to receive from the seller the documentation attesting their “authenticity or at least the probable attribution and origin” (l’autenticità o almeno la probabile attribuzione e la provenienza). 
Not all cultural heritage can be traded or exported. 
For works that are less than 50 years old or works of living artists, the tourist must present self-certification to the Export Office that states the cultural good is less than 50 years old or made by a living artist. The certification must include two photographs of the item in question, along with a copy of the buyer’s identification document.

For works that are more than 50 years old, the buyer must present the cultural heritage work to the Export Office in order to obtain a certificate of free circulation (if the seller has not already registered it). The time required to obtain the free circulation varies from a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 40 days. It is important to be aware that the free circulation certificate is not a right, and therefore can be denied if the Export Office deems its export a damage to the Italian national cultural heritage.

To find Export Offices throughout Italy, click here.