Early in November, the Italian government launched a ‘cultural initiative’ giving young adults a 500 euro “cultural bonus” on their 18th birthday to spend on “books, concert tickets, theatre tickets, cinema tickets, museum visits, and trips to national parks”.
18-year-olds born in 1998 will be able to choose what to spend their voucher on through an app, called 18app, which must be downloaded before the year is out.
The scheme is designed to give young people a direct say where funds to promote culture will go, not bureaucracy. No distinction will be made between highbrow and pop culture.
Former Prime minister Matteo Renzi originally announced the programme in November 2015, 10 days following the Paris attacks to combat terrorism. “We have centuries of history that proclaim the fact that culture will beat ignorance, that beauty is more tenacious than barbarism.”
Italian teenagers must know “how important cultural consumption is, both for enriching yourself as a person and strengthening the fabric of our society.” .
“The initiative sends a clear message to youngsters, reminding them that they belong to a community which welcomes them once they come of age”.