The Great “Settimana Cultura” Conspiracy

26 03 2008

The high cost of living in Italy getting you down?

Catch those pre-election discounts while you can!

For many years my family and I have looked forward to the Settimana della cultura (Week of Culture) promoted by the Italian national ministry of culture in May. The end of Spring is the best time of the year to travel around the peninsula and, given the high cost of admission to public museums and monuments, it is an opportunity to sightsee in a large group without breaking the bank. Instead of paying €6 to 8 each to see one site, we can cover all of the beni culturali (“cultural assets” in official translator English) in the area in one fell swoop. Consistent with the much lamented exponential increases in the cost of living here, the main topic of discussion in both the national media and anxious personal conversations, many culturally minded families have started to plan their vacations around the initiative. You can imagine the surprise then when we discovered last night that, in a break with tradition, the eagerly awaited week had already started!

It’s here!


The new improved March “Settimana della cultura” was first made public on the 28th of February.  It is an inspiring tribute to the integrity of what was already, after all, a lame duck government that the culture ministry was able to amass the energy to organize and promote an unexpected week of culture at a time when most of the country’s leadership might be distracted by the current national election campaign. Indeed, apart from the change in date, it is striking that the centerpiece of the 2008 pre-electoral settimana is not the usual stuffy mix of art and history but the opportunity to go to the cinema everywhere in Italy for €1, instead of the more usual €7 (as shown on the bottom left of the official poster above). It’s a shame only that none of the 3 cinemas in our town are showing anything other than the usual commercial Hollywood fare.

Hurry, it’s only an euro!


This great temporary money saving initiative joins another state gift to working families: the month of cheap bread. From the 15th of March until the 15th of April (ie two days after the date of the national election) your friendly local bakery will be encouraged to offer special discounts on the price of bread, a commodity that has undergone sharp price increases over the past two years. If you have a large freezer, the cheap bread can feed your financially challenged family all year round as you recall the rose coloured memories of your supersaver night at the cinema!

We’ve got the bread – fill up the freezer! All we need now is the circus…


Now if we could just get some “cultural” discounts on the price of gas, currently hovering around €1.42 a litre, I could afford to visit all of the museums and monuments I’ve been eager to see!




6 responses

26 03 2008

Nice post!! Well, I am Italian, but everything you wrote is correct!! I am also surprised to discover that this year “la settimana della cultura” is in March and no more in May!! Maybe it is a coincidence 🙂 !!!! For the movies at 1 euro, it is not a new thing! I remember other discounts for the cinema in past years. Cheers…Barbara

29 03 2008
Bimbi e cultura « Barbaraland

[…] sta osservando!! Quest’anno la settimana della cultura è stata anticipata di qualche mese ( a tal proposito vi segnalo un post in inglese che commenta questo anticipo). E’ stato un colpo basso!! non siamo riusciti ad organizzarci in tempo, come ogni anno, per […]

2 05 2008

by the way, you were getting a discount on gas before the election. Now there’s another 2 cent tax to pay per litre. The words insult and injury come to mind.

7 05 2008

That’s not entirely fair. Almost every event in Rome is publicized very late in the day. I’ve seen concert posters go up after the concert, and in the buses there are often posters advertizing events many months ago.

By the way, I got here after searching for Dietrologia. Make of that what you will …

8 05 2008

Welcome comment friends!

Ace: With the continuing price rises, the Italian electorate didn’t realize that the outgoing government had offered this amazing, temporary discount – much like the policy currently proposed by Hillary Clinton in the US. A more serious approach would be to impose a flat tax on fuel, rather than a percentage of the ever increasing pump price.

Jeremy: Sure, everyone makes mistakes but it’s disingenous to think that persistent mismanagement is always just a matter of that endearing Latin bureaucratic incompetence – someone may be laughing all the way to the Swiss bank.

As for “Make of that what you will …”, ok: you hoped I’d be curious enough to check out what you wrote about dietrologia on your blog?

22 03 2009
Settimana della Cultura 2009 « Shakespeare Politics and Italy Blog

[…] all the confusion surrounding the Italian week of culture last year, when it appeared in March without any prior warning, it looks like things are a bit clearer for 2009. According to the official site of the Italian […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: