Italy is bolstering security at its cultural heritage sites in the wake of the terror attacks, which devastated Brussels last week.
Concerns were raised over the strength of existing security measures at Italian museums and monuments following the twin attacks on Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport and Maelbeek metro station last Tuesday (22 March). Consequently, the Italian government is to implement new safeguards under a three-year €300 million (£238 million) plan to protect visitors to the country’s 20 most popular tourist destinations. These include Pompeii, the Colosseum in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and Venice’s Galleria dell’Accademia.
The anti-terror heritage plan is comprised of two levels. The first outlines emergency response protocols to be followed in response to an attack and lays the groundwork for the establishment of ‘task forces’, which will link local Italian prefectures with museum directors and specialised supervisors. The second level of the plan details how the €300 million is to be invested over three years in equipping heritage sites with improved security infrastructure.
In the interest of maximising security, the Italian government is remaining tight-lipped about the specific measures to be put in place as part of its plan. However, secretary general of the Ministry of Culture, Antonella Recchia, did reveal government plans to increase camera surveillance, install more metal detectors and increase the number of police and Carabinieri (paramilitary) at the sites.
According to Ms Recchia, the Italian government has already spent €50 million (£40 million) on enhancing security infrastructure at the country’s museums and heritage sites. The government also plans to turn its attention to a further 150 sites, which it has identified as requiring increased protection.
Can we expect the UK government to follow suit and dip into its new £30 million ‘Cultural Protection Fund’ to enhance security at British heritage sites?