Why Ilaria Borletti Buitoni should NOT become minister

The reasons why in our opinion Ilaria Borletti Buitoni should not become minister of cultural heritage in the next government.

In these hours during which the shortlist of names that will govern (so to speak) the country in the coming times is being composed (and, of course, it will be a government from which one should not expect the slightest change, given the names circulating: if Italian politics were a TV show, and we are not that far from it, we would probably now be witnessing a kind of “The Worst of”), the most popular name for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage seems to be that of Ilaria BorlettiBuitoni1, the former president of FAI as well as a candidate in the last elections with Mario Monti’s Scelta Civica2. Let us make it clear that in our opinion, in a normal country Ilaria Borletti Buitoni should NOT ever, ever become a minister, and we explain why right away.

Obviously we do not hold it against Ilaria Borletti Buitoni on a personal level: as we learn from her website3, she has always been active in the sphere of volunteering andassociationism in various fields, from charity and activity (moreover in first person) in favor of the people of Kenya, to the promotion of chamber music passing through her activity in support of culture as president of FAI. Add to this an entrepreneurial culture devoted to respect for employees4 (the probable future minister of cultural heritage comes from one of the most active families in Milan’s high business sector), which is not entirely taken for granted or obvious, and which is a credit to Ilaria Borletti Buitoni.

But that is precisely the point. Beyond the very laudable charitable activity, Ilaria Borletti Buitoni has no specific expertise in cultural heritage and lacks specific training in the field. It would have been a sign of great change to entrust the ministries to people who are experts in their respective fields, and instead we will find ourselves with all the politics of the past two decades at the helm: so, in a government in which the names may be those of the various Lupi, D’Alema, Carfagna, Amato, Bernini and company, culture will probably have been all too well off as well.

In short, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage will go to a wealthy lady who has devoted, with passion and pride, her energies to volunteer work and philanthropy: however, we do not believe that these are sufficient conditions to hold the position of minister. It almost sounds like a statement of intent, it seems as if to reform culture in Italy we do not need experts in the field and a state that appliesArticle 9 of the Constitution to the letter, but we need charity from private individuals. Volunteerism is certainly an excellent tool for the protection and enhancement of our cultural heritage, but it certainly cannot take over the role of the state: and putting Ilaria Borletti Buitoni in charge of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage unfortunately seems to be a move aimed at meeting this prospect. After all, from many quarters there are calls for a greater role for private individuals in managing the heritage that belongs to everyone: and the appointment of Ilaria Borletti Buitoni is entirely consistent with this way of thinking.


1. Cf. Antonella Baccaro, The biggies ready to take the field. The Amato and D’Alema hypotheses, from Corriere della Sera, April 26, 2013.

2. Cfr. Monti nominates Bombassei, Sechi and Vezzali, from ADN Kronos, January 8, 2013.

3. www.ilariaborlettibuitoni.it.

4. Cf. Stefania Vitulli, Ilaria Borletti. My memories in Rinascente, from Il Giornale, May 20, 2007.