Andrea Carandini on the Future of FAI

October 1, 2014
Kim Bowes
Andrea Carandini and Kim Bowes
Guests at the Villa Aurelia
Enrico Quell and Peter Benson Miller
Peter Benson Miller and Lindsay Harris
Kim Bowes and Guido Carandini
Speaker Andrea Carandini and Kim Bowes
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On September 22, Villa Aurelia drew a full house to hear Professor Andrea Carandini, President of the Fondzione Ambiente Italiana (FAI), speak about the future of the organization as an Italian institute dedicated to the oversight of Italian art, nature and culture. Delivered in Italian, it constituted the first lecture of the New Work in the Arts & Humanities Series, which this year will focus on Monuments in the Contemporary World.

Director Kim Bowes, FAAR’06, introduced Professor Carandini as a distinguished Professor Emeritus of archaeology at La Sapienza University who specializes in Rome and has directed excavations on the Palatine Hill and at the site of the Auditorium Parco della Musica. In 2013 he became President of FAI, founded in 1975 and modeled on the British National Trust, bringing a new vision for the growth of the organization. “FAI,” said Director Bowes, “offers us hope in the face of so much bad news with respect to crumbling artistic patrimony” as an institution that is truly “of the people, by the people.”

After taking up his new position, Professor Carandini consulted with the National Trust and set out an eminently clear ten-year plan for the organization’s future, which aims to be fully comprehensive in its approach to conserving, promoting, and maintaining Italy’s historic spaces and places. Far from being independent entities, says Professor Carandini, the nation’s art, monuments, infrastructure, landscape, and people must be understood as interdependent systems and FAI’s work must be to integrate these elements at every level in order to strengthen Italy as a cultural whole.

The first goals of FAI's plan are to raise participation in the form of both visitors and volunteers, and to increase membership in the organization so as to guarantee its long term financial sustainability. Additional objectives are to ensure the autonomy of those responsible at the local level, to cooperate with educational institutions, to participate in the national debate with clear priorities, and to widen the operations of the organization. Yet the respect and admiration of the public is key to the success of the plan and FAI aims to earn the public trust by creating spaces that cultivate a healthy rapport between the needs of the monuments and those of both local people and visitors.

In contrast to the kind of “mangi e fuggi” or “eat and run” tourism that currently dominates the nation’s capital, says Carandini, FAI is determined over the next ten years to reconnect people and places across Italy, to reintegrate buildings and landscapes, and to enrich everyone’s experience. Giving back real value to Italy’s cultural patrimony, Carandini is confident, will erase current oppositions between public and private and result in organic economic success.