International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
ICCROM and Italy

ICCROM and Italy

The Headquarters Agreement signed between UNESCO and Italy on 27 April 1957 gave a home to a new organization, ICCROM. Sixty years have now passed, and the dialogue with ICCROM’s host country is arguably now more important than ever.

Today, Italy is taking a leading role in cultural heritage protection at the international level, a role made clear through multiple diplomatic and humanitarian developments. This aspect of Italy’s foreign policy and cultural diplomacy is both the raison d’être and explanation for ICCROM’s location in Italy. Recent years have seen many opportunities for collaboration between ICCROM and its host country on these vital themes.

Italy is deeply committed to heritage protection, and its strong engagement in the Mediterranean region is a main pole of its international policy. Both directly and through coordination, ICCROM’s host country supports nations in the Mediterranean through humanitarian assistance and capacity building.  These initiatives, often taken in conjunction with ICCROM activities, aim for a positive regional impact in Africa, the Arab region and southeastern Europe, as well as internationally.  Moreover, given ICCROM’s strong focus on disaster preparedness, ICCROM has leveraged its long-standing cooperation with Japan to bring visibility to Italy’s rescue of damaged heritage following the earthquakes in Central Italy.

In the 60 years of ICCROM’s presence in Italy, the collaboration framework has greatly evolved. Born at the aftermath of the Second World War, ICCROM was called – in the first years of its activity – to address the issues of the post-war reconstruction, issues supported strongly by Italian institutions. In the early 1960s, ICCROM contributed to international campaigns in which Italy was a driving force — recovery from the Florence floods, the transfer of the Abu Simbel monument and other initiatives as well. In more recent years, as Italy has strengthened its cultural diplomacy beyond its borders, ICCROM has offered an ideal platform for joint initiatives in a worldwide scenario, addressing the growing complexity of the themes proposed by cultural heritage.


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Partners are essential for heritage conservation efforts, as collaboration can leverage various types of capital (e.g., financial, human, social, physical materials) for such activities as fundraising, management, research, education, and outreach. In disaster contexts, partnerships are needed to coordinate response efforts—and the importance of including cultural heritage conservation in response efforts is gaining more attention. In particular, ICCROM is increasingly viewed an important partner in both leveraging their network to access needed local expertise and training response workers in best management practices.

Sebastiano Tusa, head of the Coordination Service for Underwater Archaeological Research (Servizio per il Coordinamento delle Ricerche Archeologiche Sottomarine, SCRAS), has died. He was on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed outside Addis Ababa on 10 March. Dr Tusa was en route to a UNESCO-organized conference on underwater archaeological heritage held in Malindi, Kenya on 11 March.

On 11 and 12 March, the World Heritage Leadership Programme held a meeting at ICCROM to discuss the content coordination of its planned integrated heritage management web platform.

The 2018 edition of Green Lab will show “Green” methods and solutions, both innovative and ready to use, for cultural heritage restoration. The aim of the course is to give insight into use of these materials and methods by professionals, especially restorers, in order to: observe the applicability, efficiency and effectiveness of the solutions presented; discuss the advantages and limitations together with the developers.

On 25 October, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, also known as the Farnesina, held a conference on the cooperation between Italy and Africa. This was the second in a series of conferences on this topic organized by the Farnesina, the first of which was held in 2016.