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'Culture is our bread and butter' says Matteo Renzi

'Must salvage beauty to create jobs' says premier-designate

17 February, 18:31
'Culture is our bread and butter' says Matteo Renzi (ANSA) - Florence, February 17 - In is last speech as mayor of Florence, premier-designate Matteo Renzi on Monday told the city council that government must invest in culture because it creates jobs.

''Better management of our cultural assets, in Florence as in Italy, creates value because it creates employment'', the 39-year-old Democratic Party (PD) chief said.

''We must salvage beauty because it is a resource''.

Government must take an active role in saving cash-strapped cultural institutions, and not leave artists to their own devices, Renzi went on.

He pointed to the actors and musicians who have occupied Rome's 18th-century Teatro Valle since 2011 to keep it going after the center-right government of Silvio Berlusconi slashed Italy's arts budget as an example.

''I say there are alternatives'', Renzi said. ''Teatro Valle was in the same situation as the Teatro del Maggio in Florence, where the administration stepped in. Today that theater, which is the oldest in Europe, generates its own productions''.

Renzi went on to list what he said were his successful urban planning and environmental policies for Florence, and thanked the opposition for its ''sense of responsibility'' during his time as mayor.