The theme of the promotion and development of creativity and culture in the younger generations in Italy is based on institutional bodies such as the Department of Youth Policies and Universal Civil Service which includes, among its main objectives, the promotion of knowledge and technological innovation, as well as the “... promotion and support of creative activities and cultural and entertainment initiatives of young people, and of initiatives regarding free time, cultural and study trips ...”, as established in the DPC 1 October 2012 and subsequent amendments, on the Organization of the general structures of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Together with the development and support of youth creativity, the central theme of cultural policies is that of the valorisation and conservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the area. Article 9 of the Italian Constitution sets out that “the Republic promotes the development of culture and scientific and technical research. It protects the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation”.
Legislative Decree 22 January 2004, n.42 and subsequent amendments, was issued to implement the constitutional principle and contains the “Code of cultural heritage and landscape” which attributes to the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) the task of protecting, conserving and valorising the cultural heritage of Italy, while also regulating the State-Regions relations on the competences regarding the protection and valorisation, identifying Cultural and Landscape Heritage and regulating its protection, use and valorisation.
The valorisation of cultural heritage is not intended solely in terms of the protection of cultural heritage but is closely linked to the concept of promoting the development of culture and collective creativity and, in particular, of young people, a principle guaranteed by Legislative Decree 13 April 2017, n. 60containing “Regulations on the promotion of humanistic culture, on the valorisation of cultural heritage and artefacts and on the support of creativity”. The regulations set out the importance of disseminating humanistic culture and artistic knowledge to students in order to recognize the centrality of man, affirming his dignity, needs, rights and values and entrusts the national education and training systems with the task of promoting the study, historical-critical knowledge and practice of the arts.
Main trends in young people’s creativity and cultural participation
Participation in the creative and cultural experiences of the area is monitored nationally by the Italian Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) which annually carries out national surveys on the cultural participation of the population. According to the data collected in Chapter 10 “Culture and leisure” of the ISTAT 2019 Italian Statistical Yearbook, the cultural participation of the Italian population recorded a slight increase compared to 2017, going from 64.1% to 64.9%. In summary, the increase is mainly driven by visitors to monuments and archaeological sites as well as by the number of people attending not only classical music concerts (up by 1.4%). While confirming itself as the main area of interest, cinema audiences decreased for all age groups with the exception of the elderly (between 65-74 year-olds, it increased by 1.3%). In 2018, the number of book readers was still stable, while the number of people reading newspapers continued to decrease.
In this context, the data referring to the cultural participation of young people as highlighted by the “Multipurpose survey on families: aspects of daily life – general part” (ISTAT 2019) confirm the prevalence of practices related to cinema, followed by discos, visits to museums and exhibitions and participation in concerts and sporting events (Tab. 1). More than half of the young people aged between 15 and 20 years read at least one book a year, while those who read an average of one book a month decreased between 9 and 12% in the various age ranges.
Table 1. Culture, free time, use of the media. Cultural participation: Shows. Data on 100 young people aged between 15 and 34 years with the same characteristics. Year 2018 (percentage values)
Classical music concerts, opera
Other music concerts
Archaeological sites e monuments
Source ISTAT: Sample survey “Multipurpose on families: aspects of daily life”, year 2019
According to data from “Io sono Cultura” of 2019, a research project carried out by Unioncamere and the Fondazione Symbolathat analysed the economic and social value of companies operating in the cultural and creative sector of the country, in 2018 the number of youth companies (managed or mainly run by people under the age of 35) totalled 21,993 and accounted for 7.6% of the total of the Cultural and Creative Production System, as shown in the following table.
Table 2. Distribution of the companies of the Cultural and Creative Production System by type of management and subsectors. Year 2018 (absolute values and percentage distributions)
% of SPCC
% of total
% of SPCC
% of total
% of SPCC
% of total
Arch. and design
Cinema, radio, tv
Video and software
Core Culture Total
Source: Unioncamere, Fondazione Symbola, 2019
Cultural heritage: the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape sets out in Article 2 that cultural heritage consists of cultural heritage and landscape heritage. In particular:
cultural heritage is any tangible and intangible asset that belongs to the State, regions, other territorial public bodies, as well as any other public body and institution and non-profit private legal persons, which has an artistic, historical, archaeological or ethno-anthropological interest;
landscape heritage consists of any buildings and areas constituting an expression of the historical, cultural, natural, morphological and aesthetic values of the territory, along with any other assets identified by law or on the basis of the law.
Public use of cultural heritage: the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape sets out art. 1 that “The State, the regions, the metropolitan cities, the provinces and the municipalities ensure and support the conservation of the cultural heritage and promote its public use and valorisation”. In addition, art. 2 sets out that “The assets of the cultural heritage belonging to the public are intended for use by the community, compatibly with the needs of institutional use and as long as there are no reasons for protection”.
Valorisation of cultural heritage: the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape sets out in art. 6 that the valorisation of cultural heritage consists of activities aimed at promoting knowledge of cultural heritage and ensuring the best conditions for public use and enjoyment of the heritage itself, including by people with disabilities, in order to promote the development of culture.