Alberto Ronchey 1926-2010

I just landed in Rome, and I’ve learned from the news that Alberto Ronchey passed away some days ago. He was ministry of Cultural Heritage during the 1990s with 2 different Italian Governments, but that’s only the most known thing he did in a long career as a journalist and writer. His name is strongly tied to a bill that still brings his name (Legge Ronchey), about the introduction of private commercial activities in State-owned museums and archaeological areas. While disputed for some years, this bill is nevertheless of paramount importance for the whole Italian heritage ecosystem, and played a key role in the development of cultural heritage into a commercially exploitable field (albeit an oligopoly, one might dare to say), even though the role of the State is still vital. He was father to Silvia Ronchey, who’s teaching classical philology and byzantine history and the University of Siena. She’s a brilliant scholar also far beyond her field of studies and one of the best teachers I’ve encountered there.