“Beautifying” public spaces, increasing the State’s collection and encouraging the work of artists.
With these aims in mind, in 1949 – in the midst of the post-war reconstruction – Law n. 717/49 was issued (commonly known as the “2% Law”) to mandate the realisation of public art in all newly constructed buildings.
Specifically, the Law imposes that Administrative bodies (State, Regional, Territorial and all Public Entities in general) set aside a percentage of construction costs (maximum 2%) for works of art to be displayed in new buildings.
This law – despite frequent incorrect applications – remains in force and over the years has produced a number of excellent results, including the recent examples of the new courthouses in Venice, home to a work by Botto e Bruno and in Pescara, with works by Enzo Cucchi, Sandra Chia and Michelangelo Pistoletto.
With the precise objective of simplifying the application of this Law, in 2006 the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the MiBAC published a set of Guidelines that better explain a number of its aspects.

The DGAAP is responsible for monitoring the promotion of the application of the Law and ensuring the quality of all interventions.
The DGAAP has also initiated a national research project to monitor the works realised from 1949 to the present.

PROCEDURES AND INFORMATION

Works of art are selected during competitions and evaluated by a committee comprising:

  • a representative of the Administration financing the construction of the building;
  • the designer of the host building;
  • the MiBAC Superintendency responsible for the area in which the project is situated;
  • two recognised artists nominated by the Administration.

The following constructions are excluded from the application of the Law: industrial buildings, residential constructions (civil and military), school and university buildings and selected healthcare facilities.
The cost of construction must be in excess of one million Euro and the baseline percentage of 2% diminishes progressively in relation to the total cost of construction.

In 2006 the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, in collaboration with the MiBAC, issued DM 23 March 2006 containing the “Guidelines for the Application of Law n. 717/1949 Regulating Art in Public Buildings”, complete with all necessary application forms (Attachments 1 to 5).

Circular n. 3728/2014 issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport reiterates, albeit in a very different context, the full applicability of the Law and provides a number of useful instructions.

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