Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi with the group of new museum directors appointed in 2015. Photo: Tiberio Barchielli

Five Italian Museum Directors Reinstated After Dismissal

Last month, an Italian court, the Lazio Regional Administrative Tribunal, ousted five museum directors from a pool of twenty new hires after a lengthy search helmed by the culture ministry in 2015—the first-ever international search conducted by the Italian government. According to the court, the directors were suspended because their Skype interviews seemed insufficient, and there was some confusion as to how the ministry ranked the candidates. The Lazio magistrates also said that the entire search process was problematic and, according to a 2001 law, that non-Italians are barred from taking public positions.

Nonetheless, the five directors—Martina Bagnoli of the Galleria Estense in Modena; Peter Assmann of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua; and Eva Degl’Innocenti, Paolo Giulierini, and Carmelo Malacrino of the National Archaeological Museums of Naples—have returned to work, writes Hannah McGivern of the Art Newspaper. This is because Italy’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, overruled the regional court’s decision. Also, the ministry managed to pass an amendment to the 2001 law that allows EU nationals who are not Italian to take public posts.

The Council of State is scheduled to have a final hearing on the matter come October 26. Bagnoli, speaking on behalf of the other directors, said that she was elated, “especially because our projects are moving forwards.” The group was also appreciative of the support shown to them by the local community and other institutions.