Where Have All The Patrons Gone?

PHILIP HOLLIS for TIME

DISCORD: Chorus members from ENO make their protests heard in a singing February strike

As far back as the 13th century, Italian city-states guarded their cultural artifacts as carefully as they did their borders. Some 800 years later, in the unified nation that claims Michelangelo and Titian as part of its heritage, that legacy still has power. From masterpieces hanging in museums to precious works held in private collections — whose owners cannot so much as move a painting without official approval — almost all of Italy's treasures are jealously protected by the state. Culture, says Salvatore Settis, an Italian professor of art history and classical archaeology, "holds a historic memory that belongs to the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!