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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.1 General context

Last update: 19 March 2024

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 of cultural and entertainment initiatives by young people as well as of initiatives regarding free time, cultural and study trips ...”, as established in the DPCM 1 October 2012 and subsequent amendments, on the Organisation of the general structures of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

Together with the development and the support to youth creativity, the central theme of cultural policies is the valorisation and the 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 principles and it contains the “Code of cultural heritage and landscape” which attributes to the Ministry of Culture (MIC) and to the Ministry of Tourism (formerly joint in the 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. 60 containing “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 to entrust the national education and training systems with the task of promoting the study, historical-critical knowledge and practice of the arts.

Main concepts

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.

The Code 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, depending on the needs of institutional use and as long as there are no reasons for protection”.

Valorisation of cultural heritage: 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.

Main trends in young people’s creativity and cultural participation

In 2021 only 21.1 percent of the population aged 6 and over participated in some form of entertainment or show outside their houses as a result of the restrictions caused by the pandemic, a real meltdown compared to the 60.0 percent of 2020.

The decline involved all cultural activities, especially movies and cinematic shows (-36.2% compared to 2020), visits to museums and exhibitions (-18.4 percentage points) and sporting events (-16.2%).

The share of book readers looks stable while that of newspaper readers continues to decrease. The residents of the Centre-North are still the most active in terms of cultural participation.

In 2021, the constant growth in the number of people over the age of 6 who claim to use the Internet is confirmed, with 77.1 per cent, indicating a growth of 3.8 per cent compared to 2020

State museum institutes registered just under 17 million visitors,with numbers still far from reaching those recorded in the pre-pandemic era (over 54 million in 2019), even though there has been an increase of more than 27.1 per cent compared to 2020 (mainly due to the maintenance of the visitor quota for compliance with anti-Covid regulations.

In 2020, 82,719 books were published in Italy, for a total of over 173 million copies, while the libraries have undertaken new initiatives and activated new services to the public to deal with the Covid-19 emergency. Among these, the most frequent is the activation or enhancement of Digital reference and/or Quick references (48.5 percent).

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 in the chapter of Giovani.stat ( related to Culture, Free time and Media Usage (ISTAT 2022) confirms:

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 2021 (percentage values).



Data type



Museums, exhibitions

Classical music concerts, opera

Other music concerts

Sports events

Discos, clubs

Archaeological sites and monuments

15-17 years









18-19 years









20-24 years









25-34 years









Source ISTAT: Sample survey “Multipurpose on families: aspects of daily life”, year 2022

According to data from “Io sono Cultura” of 2022, a research project carried out by Unioncamere and the Fondazione Symbola that analysed the economic and social value of companies operating in the cultural and creative sector of the country show how the necessary restrictive measures for the pandemic re-proposed also for 2021, affected cultural production activities, their distribution, and therefore their fruition. Nonetheless, there have been signs of recovery, thanks to the incentives allocated by the central government, from Regions and Local Authorities.

On the employment side according to the annual report drawn up by INPS (Istituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale), considering that it unites the performance in entertainment in live and recorded shows alike, given that many figures operate  simultaneously in both fields, we note that the singers have passed from 64 days in 2019 to 56 in 2020 and 57 in 2021, directors and screenwriters from 133 to 125 before going back up to 129, the directors reached 181 in 2019 and then went down to 147 and went back up to 166 in2021. The actors instead represent a separate case since they’re more numerous: in 2021 there were 92,500 (of which about two thirds are "generics and special extras") and overall they increased in the last year by 49%.