Carrara pleads with private individuals to adopt city monuments. As maxi tax evasion is uncovered.

In Carrara, the city administration plans to have private individuals adopt monuments in need of intervention-a ridiculous and shameful initiative.

That Carrara has long been traversed by a climate of very high indignation towards the city’s administration is a well-known fact: there are too many problems afflicting Carrara (which we have often talked about on these pages as well: environmental threats, hydrogeological instability, job crisis and unemployment, social degradation, total disregard for culture) and little attention is paid by those who should be governing the city to finding solutions. Thus, discontent has long been above warning levels, and an administration that wanted to intelligently manage its administered people should beware of continuing to throw gasoline on the fire. However, the administrators of Carrara do not seem to shine for political sophistication: a few days ago, the councillor for productive activities, Riccardo Coppola, launched the idea of having Carrara’s monuments in need of restoration or cleaning adopted by private individuals. Councillor Coppola, from the pages of local newspapers, thus made known his intention to issue a call for bids, in which “entities, citizens, private individuals, industrialists” will be able to participate. Among the monuments in need of intervention, which constitute some of the highest artistic testimonies of the city, we also find a masterpiece by Baccio Bandinelli, the Giant of Piazza del Duomo, which requires cleaning. The announcement of Coppola’s proposal was followed, moreover, by a depressing exchange of jokes, again in local newspapers, with a merchant in the historic center who accused the councilor of copying her idea. And, for his part, Riccardo Coppola made it known that he would have expected thanks instead of controversy.

Carrara, Piazza Alberica
Carrara, Alberica Square. In the center of the square, the monument to Maria Beatrice d’Este by Pietro Fontana (1827), on the list of those in need of intervention

As an art lover and a citizen administered by Coppola and colleagues, I really don’t see why I should address thanks to the alderman. The institution ofadoption provides for a child without parents to be entrusted, to a family: we were also talking about it with regard to Minister Dario Franceschini’s idea of having companies adopt major Italian museums. It is clear that culture in Carrara, too, has long been an orphan: there are no addresses, there is a lack of projects, cultural degradation has led to situations of social decay that are now unsustainable, and all that comes to mind is begging private individuals to adopt monuments. And in this case we are not only outraged: we also feel deeply mocked. From whom should we hope that help will come? From those who have continued to rob Carrara of its most valuable asset, marble, guaranteeing themselves huge profits without investing in the city at all? From those who have allowed Carrara to become a city devastated by environmental disasters caused by special interests and connivance? From those who continue undaunted to make a mockery of their fellow citizens, as shown by the investigations of the Guardia di Finanza that, in recent hours, have uncovered “a proven system of tax evasion through which, for years and without interruption, some national entrepreneurs, in agreement and with the active collaboration of a broker and foreign buyers, have under-invoiced, for millions of euros, export sales of stone materials”? From industrialists rising up, threatening legal battles over a two-percentage-point increase in the mining contribution rate? What cultural sensitivity can we expect from those who, for decades, have ruined Carrara without giving the citizens anything in return?

We therefore feel mocked because it is unacceptable for a municipal administration to stand supplicant before private citizens asking them for a few crumbs to make a contribution to the city’s history and art: the total amount of interventions amounts to a little more than a hundred thousand euros. It is worth remembering that the Municipality of Carrara earns from mining, on average, a figure close to just 9 percent (15 million collected by the municipality in 2012) of the total earnings of marble companies (168 million, again with reference to 2012: the data were released by Legambiente’s 2014 Quarry Report ). In the face of highly impactful activities, the community receives revenues that we can consider derisory when compared to the price that the people of Carrara have to pay in terms of quality of life: nevertheless, the Municipality decides to prostrate itself further and humbly ask private individuals to take charge of the city’s monuments. Add to this the fact that Alderman Coppola also expects someone to thank him. Laughable the wish, shameful the initiative: Carrara did not deserve this further affront.

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