Eike Schmidt cicerone for rich people at the Uffizi? Precisions from the museum

A clarification regarding the news that Eike Schmidt is supposed to be a cicerone for wealthier tourists visiting the Uffizi.

Last week an article appeared in Corriere Fiorentino presenting the birth of a portal dedicated to extra-luxury tourism in Florence. Among the activities proposed to the portal’s clients would be experiences such as a “walk among the masterpieces of the Uffizi,” “with Eike Schmidt as a cicerone.” The news obviously raised concerns (see, for example, Tomaso Montanari ’s commentary that came out in Repubblica).

Although in principle we agree with Montanari that “if Schmidt or Nardella really wanted to put themselves at the disposal of someone in particular,” they should indeed “choose the last ones,” we felt it was our duty to ask the staff of the Uffizi Galleries (the plural name is the museum’s new name) directly for explanations. Things are not quite as described in the Florentine Courier article. So let us copy-paste the clarifications provided to us by Marco Ferri of the Uffizi press office:

As has always been the case in Florence since at least the 1990s, and as is the case in all international museums, in the future the director will also act as a cicerone for wealthy donors, and within special events paid for at a fair price. The director personally does not receive a penny from these initiatives, but all proceeds go to the museum. We know that the “Florence Yes Please” portal serves as a communicative “incubator” for five-star hotels coming together to organize special events for their clientele, but the possibility of organizing special events is open to everyone. In other words, there is no “cachet” to engage the director, who certainly will not set himself up as a tour guide (as was mistakenly read), but the possibility of the director’s presence and educational activities within special events should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with a view to the duty of fundraising with or without the use of the Art Bonus that is part of the director’s institutional duties.

Eike Schmidt
Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi. Photo by Fanpage distributed under a Creative Commons license.

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