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Francesco Rutelli was born in Rome in 1954.
He has been married since 1982 to the journalist Barbara Palombelli. They have four children and two grandsons.
He is the President of ANICA (National Association of Cinema and Audiovisual Companies), elected in 2016, and re-elected for the 2020-2023 term.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture of Italy (2006 - 2008).
Mayor of Rome (1993 - 2001), elected with the highest popular support ever.
Member of the Italian Parliament from 1983 to 2013; five times elected in the Lower House, once in the Senate. Member of the European Parliament (1999-2004).
Among his previous institutional positions: Chairman of the Human Rights Committee (Camera dei Deputati); Chairman of COPASIR (House and Senate Intelligence Committee); Special Government Commissioner for the Jubilee 2000; Delegate for Italian Tourism (as Deputy Prime Minister).
Since 2013, Francesco Rutelli decided not to hold political-institutional positions, and to manage both professional and non-profit activities. ANICA, the leading association that brings together producers, distributors and technical companies, elected him unanimously to represent the Italian Cinema and Audiovisual industry, in this very transformational time. He leads many international initiatives in the fields of culture, creative industries and Cultural Diplomacy. In October-December 2016 he curated, with Associazione “Incontro di Civiltà” (“Meeting of Civilisations”) the Exhibition “Rising from Destruction. Ebla, Nimrud, Palmyra” inside the Colosseum (gathering more than 300.000 visitors); he is President of “Priorità Cultura” (“Culture First”) and founder of the International Cultural Heritage Rescue Prize. He is also the founder (1989) and Chairman of the Centre for a Sustainable Future (a nonpartisan think tank on climate change and global environmental issues).
He created Videocittà, the Moving Images festival that opened in Rome in October, 2018, with more than 400.000 people attending in its three Editions. Co-chairman of the Italian-Chinese Cultural Forum, established by the Governments of Italy and China (2017-); he is Coordinator for the Ancient Cultural and Religious Roads Group in the Pontifical Council for Culture.
He is a journalist, since 1983. In 2014, he established a small company (“Italian Experience”), which creates projects and gives advice to international and national operators on issues related to culture, tourism, Cultural Diplomacy, and economic development.
He has recently activated a brand new, not-for-profit and non-political, 'Civic Service School' - with the support of high-ranking professionals and leaders - aimed at training young citizens of Rome for an advanced, skilled civil service in the Italian Capital City. His recent book "Tutte le strade partono da Roma" has been reprinted 6 times by publishing house Laterza.
In 2020 he launched in Venice the Soft Power Club. The Club convenes a qualified group of global CEOs, leading cultural representatives and high ranking former and acting officials from all parts of the world. The Club’s aim is to define inclusive messages, and pragmatic objectives every year, placing itself as a forum for a renewed, effective multilateralism.


  • Degree in Landscape and Environmental Planning and Design, Tuscia University – La Sapienza University, Rome
  • Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI), Diploma in International Organizations
  • Doctor Honoris Causa in International Affairs from John Cabot University, Rome
  • Doctor Honoris Causa in Public Service from Temple University, Rome
  • Doctor Honoris Causa in Human Letters from American University, Rome
  • Honorary Academician, Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (the world’s oldest Academy), Florence


  • Co-Chair, Master in Sustainable Development, Geopolitics of Resources and Arctic Studies, SIOI (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Anno Accademico opening Keynote Lect, UNIPEGASO, Neaples, 2018
  • Master, Cinematographic and Audiovisual Management. Sole24Ore Business School, Rome (2017)
  • Visiting Professor at the Master in Landscape Design at CURSA - University Consortium for Socioeconomic and Environmental Research, Rome (2017)
  • Visiting Professor at Tor Vergata University, Rome (2016, 2017)
  • Visiting Professor at John Cabot University, Rome (2015, 2016)
  • Member of the Board of Digital Economy, Faculty of Economy, La Sapienza University, Rome.


  • President, ANICA (Italian Association of Cinema and Audiovisual Companies), ANICA Servizi, ANICA Academy, Videocittà, Legal representative of MIA (Italian Audiovisual Market)
  • Special Advisor to the Director General, ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property)
  • Founder and President, Soft Power Club
  • President, Civic Service School, Rome
  • President, Associazione Incontro di Civiltà
  • President, Associazione Priorità Cultura
  • President, Institute of European Democrats (IED), Bruxelles
  • Coordinator, Cultural Forum Italy-China
  • Chairman, Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile
  • Chairman, Cultural Heritage Rescue Prize


2004 - 2019 European Democratic Party, Co-President
2013 - 2015 Honorary President, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), Berlin 
2008 - 2013 Italian Senate, member; Chair of Terzo Polo Parliamentary Group; Member of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Committee
2008 – 2010 Chairman COPASIR, the Parliamentary Committee of Overview on Intelligence
2006 - 2008 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and Tourism
2001 - 2008 Italian Chamber of Deputies, member. Member of Foreign Affairs Committee
2001 - 2008 La Margherita-Democrazia è Libertà, Party Leader
1999 - 2004 European Parliament, member; Member of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy Committee; ACP-UE Delegation
1993 – 2001 Mayor of Rome
1994 – 1998 Chairman, National Council of Italian Mayors; Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Urban Policies; President, Urban Policy Commission, European Committee of Regions, Brussels
1983 - 1993 Italian Chamber of Deputies, member; Chair, Partito Radicale Group; Chair, Green Parlamentary Group; Member of Foreign Affairs Committee; Member of Defense Committee; Member of Work and Social Security Committee


Francesco Rutelli' family has a special place in Italian Culture and Arts. His great-grandfather, Mario Rutelli, a sculptor, was the author of many important monuments all over Italy: among them, the Najadi's Fountain and the Anita Garibaldi's monument in Rome, some of the most important sculptures in Palermo, dozens of statues and monuments in many Italian Museums and public spaces. His ancestor Felice Martini (from Parma) was the Architect responsible for the most recent transformation (1873) of the historic Venice's Arsenale. His great-grandfather Ottavio Marini (from Loreto, Marche) was Director General of Italian Antichità e Belle Arti, one hundred years ago, then Director of Accademia delle Belle Arti and of National Calcography in Rome. His Palermo's ancestors were renowned builders: their company realized the Teatro Massimo, many modern buildings and Art Déco villas in the Sicilian city.
A Catholic, Rutelli has been deeply marked by his grandfather’s experience, Mario Gentili, who received the Righteous among Nations Certificate for saving a young Jew during the Nazi occupation of Rome. As Mayor, Rutelli promoted yearly trips to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps by roman schools, an experience that has been continued by all the city’s subsequent Mayors. At the opening ceremony of the Grand Mosque of Rome in 1995, he declared the “indispensable cultural and religious pluralism, which is part of the vocation of the Eternal City”.


Francesco Rutelli started his political life supporting Civil Rights campaigns promoted by Partito Radicale. He became Rome's and regional leader of PR in 1979; in 1980 (when he was 26 years old) he was elected National Secretary of the Party. Elected to Parliament in 1983, he was part of many nonviolent and reformer initiatives in the Country, in the House (as Chair of the Parliamentary Group), and at the international level. In 2016, at the funeral of the historical Party leader, Marco Pannella, Rutelli underlined his extraordinary role for modernizing Italy, and opening the society to new accomplishments.
As a militant and environmental leader, Rutelli was elected National Coordinator of the Green Party, and Chair of the Green Parliamentary Group; appointed Minister of the Environment in 1993 (Ciampi Government), he resigned after just two days. After six months, he was elected in Rome, as the first Green Mayor in a european Capital City.
During his parliamentary tenure, he obtained a long string of laws and documents approved, regarding international affairs, economic policies, the Justice, international cooperation, the Environment. He has always been elected, in all his electoral bids, through every different electoral system, between 1983 and 2008.
The center-left coalition chose Rutelli as Prime Minister candidate in 2001 general elections; recovering 10 percentage points from the center-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, he was defeated by 1,4%: "Ulivo per Rutelli" obtained 16 million 400.000 votes. He was elected leader of the new party "La Margherita-Democrazia è Libertà", gathering 5,4 million votes in 2001; and 120 members elected in the Parliament in 2006. In 2008, his Party contributed to the constitution of Partito Democratico; he quit PD in 2009, dissenting both with the old-left leaning, and the personal-Party moods, but maintaining good relations. Among his many personal and political fellows are the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and the former Prime Minister, now UE Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni.
Rutelli often recalls his Prodi government experience (2006-2008), when he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and Tourism; the only national government in the last quarter century that brought national debt under 100% of GDP.
He founded in 2004 the European Democratic Party (EPD) together with François Bayrou – as the leaders at that time of the Italian 'Democracy is Freedom-La Margherita' and the French UDF. In 2007 he contributed to the establishment of the Institute of European Democrats (IED), a cultural political Foundation he leads today.


Curator of Exhibitions for the Reconstruction of Cultural Heritage: European Council, Brussels (April 2017); UNESCO, Paris (November 2017); FAO, on the occasion of the ICCROM General Assembly, Rome (November 2017).
 Creator and curator “Rising from Destruction. Ebla, Nimrud, Palmyra”, exhibition at the Colosseum, Rome (October-December 2016)
Creator and curator “Syria. Splendor and Tragedy”, exhibition at Palazzo Venezia, Rome (June - August 2014)
Founder and President, Cultural Heritage Rescue Prize (2014 – Present)
Editor of various Publications and Essays: It is possible “To Reproduce destroyed Things” (Priorità Cultura-Incontro di Civiltà, 2019); La Diplomazia Culturale Italiana (Incontro di Civiltà, Unipegaso, 2018); Rising from Destruction, Ebla, Nimrud, Palmyra (Incontro di Civiltà, 2016); Francigena, la gioia di camminare verso Roma (Priorità Cultura, 2016); Per un’Europa Energetica (Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile, 2016); Italia e Cina, L’economia della cultura (Priorità Cultura, 2016); Turning Point, The Paris COP 21 (Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile, 2015); Cultura, Energia inesauribile (Priorità Cultura, 2014);  Europe 2020: stuck in the middle? (Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile, 2013); Camminare, verso Roma e a Roma (Priorità Cultura, 2013).


Institut Francais, Vicinanze. Da Palazzo Farnese a Villa Medici. La Nuit des Idées, January 2021
Inauguration of the Civic Service School, Rome, Facoltà di Architettura Sapienza Università, September 2020
Forum ANSA - Expo Dubai, Il corridoio di diplomazia e cooperazione culturale tra Italia e area del Golfo, Venezia-Roma-Dubai, September2020
The First Soft Power Conference, Venice (Fondazione Giorgio Cini- Teatro della Fenice-Fondazione Prada), August-September 2020
Ernesto Nathan, l’etica di un Sindaco, Rome, Palazzo Merulana, February 2020
Presentazione del Rapporto su Venezia, la Città Metropolitana del futuro, Rome, February 2020
Inauguration of Italy-China 2020: Year of Culture and Tourism, Rome, Auditorium Città della Musica, January 2020
“Beni Culturali”, presentation of Maurizio Fiorilli’s book, Avvocatura Generale dello Stato, January 2020
I profughi del Clima, presentation of Francesca Santolini’s book, Rome, Teatro Valle, December 2019
The Deep Fake’s threat: how to deal with it in Italy, Italian Senate, December 2019
Palmyra’s guide: tribute to Khaled al As’ad, Rome, La Nuvola, Più Libri Più Liberi, December 2019
Il Programma Cento Piazze per Roma, Casa dell’Architettura, December 2019
Paesaggio della Natura e dell’Uomo: esperienza civile e viaggio Mediterraneo di Giuseppe Barbera, University of Palermo, October 2019
World Tourism Event, Rome, Palazzo Venezia, The UNESCO Sites Soft Power, September 2019
Culture in Europe, Associazione Civita Conference, Rome, September 2019
Rome: Extraordinary Unfinished Landscapes, La Sapienza University, July 2019
Cultural Diplomacy and the National Interest, Cagliari, June 2019
Cinema and Audiovisual Industries for Economic Growth and Jobs, National Report Conference, April 2019
Italy-China Cultural Forum, Rome, Palazzo Barberini, March 2019
The MOVIEMENT Project, ANICA , March 2019
An Agreement for Culture, Milan Book Pride, March 2019
Why do we continue destroying our Monuments? Rome, Villa Medici, French Academy, March 2019
EU Climate Policy, Institute of European Democrats, European Parliament, Bruxelles, January 2019
An Augustus Trial. On Ovidio's side, 2000 years later. Rome, Teatro Eliseo, December 2018
Pro-European Ideas, PDE, Palazzo Rospigliosi, Rome, October 2018
Introducing VIDEOCITTA', 'Videocity', to the Italian Head of State, Palazzo del Quirinale, October 2018
Cultural Diplomacy and International Cultural Relations, Centro Italo-tedesco, Villa Vigoni (Como), September 2018
Focus China, Venice International Film Festival, September 2018
The Italian Cultural Diplomacy: 3 Foreign Affairs Ministers discussing at the Ara Pacis Auditorium, June 2018
Culture for the Mediterranean Region, Europe, and the Middle East, Teatro Masssimo, Palermo, June 2018
A Multaqa for Cultures, Agrigento, Valle dei Templi, May 2018
"Fare Cinema", Cinema Making, I World Italian Cinema Week, Cinecittà, May 2018
Only a Critical Thinking will save us, Festival EDUCA Opening, Rovereto, Trento, April 2018
The Italian Cultural Diplomacy and the Heritage of Humanity, Naples, Lectio Magistralis for the inauguration of the Academic Year UniPegaso, February 2018
Cinema, Audiovisual and Italian Cultural Diplomacy, Conference of Directors of Cultural Institutes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome, December 2017
The Democratic idea and the future of Europe, Rome, Tempio di Adriano, December 2017
"Thirty-eight Years", Alba, Villa Mirafiori, December 2017
Cultural Heritage: Restaurations and Reconstructions, ICCROM, General Conference, Rome, November 2017
Twenty years of Civil Service, Rome, Campidoglio, November 2017
The Future of Audiovisual. The crafts of the cinema. Auditorium Città della Musica, October 2017
Italian in Cinema, Italian of Cinema, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dante Alighieri Society, Rome, October 2017
Climate, Agriculture, Migrations, CNR, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, October 2017
The history of the trees of Rome, Italian Society of Ecological and Forestry Sciences, CNR, October 2017
Archaelogical Parks, Lotus International, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, October 2017
Govern China, Conference at the Senato della Repubblica, September 2017
Conference The Climate and Energy Agenda in the Evolving Global Scenario,  Universiy of Milan, Milan, July 2017
Conference Dove va il Cinema Italiano, Rome, June 2017
La Concordia e il Mediterraneo, Valencia, June 2017
Conference Documenting our Heritage at Risk, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome, May 2017
L'Appia Antica da Roma a Brindisi. Appia Day, May 2017
Conference Il futuro urbano dei cinema, April 2017
Conference L’avvenire dell’Europa è in bilico, March 2017
Introductory Speech, First Italian Design Day in the World, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Rome, March 2017
Keynote Speech at Conference Io faccio film, The Audiovisual Industry against Piracy, Rome, March 2017
Keynote Speech at the First Italian-Chinese Cultural Forum, Beijing, February 2017
Conference Post-Conflict Reconstruction of Historic Cities, Louvre Lens, January 2017
IBERMEDIA Program (Latin American, Iberian Countries and Italy) Cinema and Audiovisual Cooperation Conference, Rome, January 2017
UNESCO Conference on Euro-Arab dialogue Mawaïd – Rendez-vous, Paris, December 2016
International Conference on Protecting Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict Zones, the British Academy, London, December 2016
FAO Conference on Climate Change & Agroforestry, Rome, November 2016
International Conference Mediterranean, Silk and Peace, Valencia, June 2016
Side event at the World IFLA Conference on Green Infrastructures and Urban Forests in the Urban Planning: New Approaches and Challenges, Turin, April 2016
Keynote speech, Iraq Crisis Conference, Rome, April 2016
Conference Illicit Trafficking Routes in Europe and the Mediterranean Transnational
Organized Crime, Terrorism and Sources of Financing, Italian Senate, Rome, April 2016
Conference Rebirth of lost Antiquity, Teatro Argentina, Rome, March 2016 4
Chairman of the Jury “Olivetti Design Contest”, Rome, February 2016
Symposium on Art and Terrorism, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, February 2016
Workshop The destruction of Cultural Heritage between past and future. The tragedy in Syria and Iraq and the Italian initiatives, Accademia dei Lincei, Rome, January 2016
Seminar COP21: An announced failure, or a last minute agreement?, French Senate, Paris, October 2015
Maker Faire Rome Le tecnologie per la Salvaguardia dei beni archeologici, Sapienza University, Rome, October 2015
Silk Road Cities Cooperation Forum, La Biennale,Venice, July 2015
II China - Italy Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and Creative Industries, EXPO Milan, July 2015
UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or illegally exported cultural objects, 20 years later, Rome, May 2015
Conference Parigi Clima 2015: tre proposte innovative dall’Italia, Chamber of Deputies, Rome, April 2015
Keynote speech, Conference Building the Future: The Role of Heritage in the Sustainable Development of Yangon, Yangon, January 2015
Seminar FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) Fare sistema sul territorio, Bocconi University, Milan, November 2014
Keynote Speech at Conference Llegat Pasqual Maragall - The Europe of the Cities, Barcelona, November 2014
Keynote Speech, Conference Coming together to transform Cities, Changsha (China), October 2014
Conference at 71st International Film Festival - la Biennale di Venezia on Cultural
Diplomacy and the Role of Cinema, Venice, September 2014
Keynote speech at Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and Creative Industries in China and Italy, Beijing (China), June 2014
International panel event on Green Growth and EU Competitiveness, Berlin
International Economics Congress 2014 on Global Trends, Berlin, March 2014
International panel event on EU 2030: Next low carbon economy targets, European Parliament, Bruxelles, November 2013
International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy, Italian Senate, Rome, June 2013.


Tutte le strade partono da Roma, Laterza, 2020
Ripensare la città. Modelli urbani al tempo del COVID-19. Testimonianze, 2020
Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: will be COVID-19 a game-changer? IED, Bruxelles, 2020
It is possible to reproduce “destroyed things”, Incontro di Civiltà – Priorità Cultura, 2019
La Diplomazia Culturale Italiana, Incontro di Civiltà-UNIPEGASO, 2018
Contro gli Immediati. Per la scuola, il lavoro, la politica, La Nave di Teseo, 2017
Introduction to: Ottant'anni di EUR, Roma 2017
Introduction to: Roma e l’Appia. Rovine Utopia Progetto, Quodlibet, 2017
Incontro di Civiltà: Roots, Reasons, Goals of our Initiative, in: Rising from Destruction. Ebla, Nimrud, Palmyra, Incontro di Civiltà, 2016
Città e pellegrini. Il lavoro del Commissario, in: Giubilei. Spiritualità, storia, cultura, UTET Grandi Opere, 2016
Conservation and Transformations in Contemporary Cities, in: Building the Future, World Monuments Fund, 2015
Paradossi, rischi e speranze del negoziato sul clima, in: Equilibri Rivista per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile, Il Mulino, 2/2015
Pronti a voltare pagina: atti e contributi a seguito della Conferenza Parigi-Clima 2015: tre proposte innovative dall’Italia. Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile- IED, December 2015
Contribution, in: Un nuovo clima. Come l’Italia affronta la sfida climatica, Rubbettino Editore, 2015
The Return of Iconoclasm: Barbarian Ideology and Destruction by ISIS as a Challenge for Modern Culture, Not Only for Islam, in: Art Crime, Terrorist, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves, Palgrave Macmillan 2015
La via stretta di un riformismo verde, in: Ambiente in Europa. Economia verde. Ambiente Italia Rapporto annuale di Legambiente, Edizioni Ambiente, 2014
Diplomazia Culturale. L’interesse italiano, le nuove prospettive internazionali, in: La
Diplomazia Culturale. Forza del dialogo, potere della cultura. Le opportunità per l’Italia, Aracne Editrice, 2013
Non è vero, Rubbettino Editore, 2011
Cyber minacce e sicurezza, Camera dei Deputati, 2010
La svolta. Lettera a un partito mai nato, Marsilio Editori, 2009
Memoria, bellezza e futuro, Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali, 2008
Quindici Parole, Baldini Castoldi, 2001
Roma e il Grande Giubileo del 2000, in: Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani, Il Libro dell’Anno, 2000
Roma oggi e domani, Newton & Compton, 1997
Capitolium, Rome’s official Magazine, Editor, 1997-2001
Piazza della Libertà, Mondadori, 1996
Progetto per Roma, Theoria, 1993
Dieci anni al Duemila. Il buongoverno ecologico. Gruppo parlamentare Verdi Arcobaleno, 1989
Per il disarmo, Gammalibri, 1982


Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire (by the Queen Elizabeth II)
Gran Cruz de la Orden del Merito Civil (by the King of Spain)
Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’Ordine di Sant’Agata, Repubblica di San Marino
Grande Oficial da Ordem do Rio Branco (by the President of Republica Federativa do Brasil)
Grand-Croix de l’Ordre de Léopold II (by the King of Belgium)
The Order of Diplomatic Service Gwanghwa Medal (by the President of Republic of Korea)
Honorary member of 1st Special Forces Regiment (“Green Berets”, Fort Bragg, USA)
Honorary member of the Italian National Partigiani Association (ANPI)
BIT Award for Italian Tourism (International Tourism Exchange)
“Trofeo Latino” for promoting the Italian culture
“Arca Award” (Association for Research into Crimes Against Art) for contributing to the recovery of stolen crafts
“Mayors who made history” Award, Barcelona
“Premio Letterario Capalbio”
“Premio Paestum Archeologia”
“Premio UNESCO Valencia Mediterraneo”
"Seal" of University for Foreigners, Perugia
Special Prize "Montale Fuori di Casa", Senato della Repubblica, Rome
European Award "Laurel of Democracy", Warsaw
"Europa Nostra Award", Berlin
"Cuore di Roma" Award for Protecting Cultural Heritage
International Award "Foyer des Artistes"


Over the last two decades, as Mayor of Rome and, afterwards, as Minister of Culture, Francesco Rutelli has contributed to the creation and development of many crucial infrastructures, cultural institutions, Museums and Galleries in Italy.
For example: the great Auditorium-Città della Musica (a long-awaited institution in Rome, designed by Renzo Piano); the MAXXI Museum for Contemporary Art (designed by Zaha Hadid); the new Ara Pacis Shrine/Museum (designed by Richard Meier); a vast program of restorations and archeological excavations; the opening of over 20 Museums and exhibition spaces in Rome, including the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Barberini, the Civic Gallery of Modern Art (later renamed MACRO), the Centrale Montemartini Museum and the Scuderie del Quirinale complex. He oversaw the restoration of San Carlo Theatre (Naples) and Petruzzelli Theatre (Bari), the construction of the new Maggio Fiorentino Auditorium (Florence), the radical restructuring of the Museo Archeologico di Reggio Calabria and the conclusion of the restoration of the Reggia di Venaria, near Turin.
He enacted a new Landscape Code and a new tax credit/tax shelter system that revitalized the movie industry. He established the Teatro Festival in Naples and re-launched the International Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. He promoted the first (and so far only) White Book on Italian creative industries.
Currently, he acts as the founder and President of Associazione Priorità Cultura (Culture First) and Associazione Incontro di Civiltà (Meeting of Civilisations), which are engaged in heritage conservation and promotion, contemporary arts, and public-private partnerships in several cultural fields. In 2014, he launched the International Campaign for the Safeguarding of Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Heritage, together with Paolo Matthiae, the Director of the Italian Archaeological Expedition to Syria since 1963 and discoverer of the City of Ebla. In June 2014, he promoted and curated the Exhibition Syria: Splendor and Tragedy, a project aimed at raising awareness of international public opinion towards the extraordinary role of ancient cultures in the Middle East and the damages suffered by Syrian cultural heritage, particularly in UNESCO sites.
Francesco Rutelli is also the founder and president of the Cultural Heritage Rescue Prize, an international award whose aim is to recognize outstanding figures, institutions and associations that protect culture and art in a context of conflict, war, or emergency. Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General of Antiquities and Museums from Syria, was the winner of the first edition, which took place in Venice in 2014. The winner of the 2016 edition in Spoleto (Italy) was Ahmad Naser Sarmast, an Afghan musicologist who has risked and devoted his life to culture, in order to give a better future to Afghan youth. In 2018, the Jury - made by high-level international leaders for Culture - nominated Al-Qadiriyya Library, Bagdad, for preserving more than 80.000 precious books from war destruction and terror threats.
Rutelli is the creator and curator of the Exhibition Rising from Destruction. Ebla, Nimrud, Palmyra, which took place in Rome, at the Colosseum, from October 7 to December 11, 2016; inaugurated by the Italian President of the Republic,Sergio Mattarella, it received more than 300.000 visitors. The exhibition featured the 1:1 reconstruction of three important monuments destroyed by the self-proclaimed Islamic state – the man-headed bull from the North-West Palace in Nimrud (Iraq), the Archive Room of Ebla (Syria) and the ceiling of Bel’s Temple in Palmyra. The exhibition also featured two damaged busts that had arrived in Italy from Palmyra (via Beirut); after the restoration made by an Italian public institution (Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro -ISCR); they have been given back to Syria as a tribute to the late Palmyra curator, Khaled Al-Asaad.
Finally, the members of ANICA, the biggest and most representative Association of Cinema and Audiovisual private companies in Italy, unanimously elected Francesco Rutelli as President of their Association in October 2016, at a very crucial time for the cinema industry; strategic changes are occurring, in this sector, whose economic and cultural importance cannot be understated.

12. ROME

In December 1993 Francesco Rutelli, aged 39, was elected Mayor of Rome. He was the first Mayor to be elected directly by citizens; he was later confirmed, in 1997, with 985.000 votes (in both elections, the highest number ever reached in any election in the city). He was subsequently elected as Chairman of the Council of the National Association of Italian Municipalities. He promoted profound changes in the city, with the crucial support of a qualified and motivated team, and an efficient organizational reform of the administrative structure (more than 50.000 employees).
Among his main achievements in the Campidoglio (Rome City Hall): the restoration of many historical buildings, such as Michelangelo's Cordonata and the Capitoline Museums; works in archeological areas (the return of the Marcus Aurelius statue, the Tabularium opening, the new Trajan’s Forum museum, new excavations in the Imperial Fora); hundreds of public infrastructure works, including the so-called Hundred Squares Program (over 170 squares restored - including Piazza del Popolo, Pantheon, Montecitorio, S. Lorenzo in Lucina - or newly built, mainly in suburban areas); a new tramway line; the inauguration and restoration of railways (among them, the La Storta-Saint Peter route, part of nearly 300 km of local and regional railroads that entered into service) and train stations; the third lane of the city’s ring highway (GRA) and of the airport motorway; the new Wholesale Market facilities. Many private initiatives were promoted and implemented during his mandate, such as the modernization of movie theaters, the new Ostia touristic port and the radical transformation of the Hotel system. A new City Masterplan was adopted, dedicating over 50% of land to green and agricultural areas and rescinding nearly 60 million cubic meters of existing building licenses. Several new works were initiated under his mandate, such as the construction of new subway lines, the Monte Mario road tunnel and a new Convention Center in the EUR neighborhood.
As President of the Rome Opera House (1993-2001), he implemented a reform of this institution. During his tenure, the World Book of Records awarded the Opera House and Saatchi and Saatchi for the longest advertising poster (274 meters) for the promotion, in Piazza del Popolo, of Puccini’s Tosca.
Rutelli was Special Commissioner for the Great Millennium Jubilee of the Year 2000. To prepare for this event, in only 41 months, 800 planned construction sites were completed (96% of them on schedule), in a transparent way, without any allegations of wrongdoing, and without a single casualty among workers. Maintenance works, management and reception 9 services allowed 27 million pilgrims and visitors to attend from all over the world. In those months several results were achieved: the creation of a complete walking promenade on the restored Appia Antica Road, the renovation of all the bridges over the Tiber river, the transformation of ancient squares into pedestrian zones, dozens of new parks and recreational areas, and the refurbishment of public spaces.
In 2015- 2016, Francesco Rutelli launched a non-partisan civic platform to support a program of city regeneration named “La Prossima Roma” (The Next Rome).


In 1989 Rutelli founded the “Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile” (CFS - Centre for a Sustainable Future), which promotes a variety of initiatives on global environment, green growth and climate change. CFS brings prominent Italian economists, scientists, experts and multipartisan politicians together. His mandate as Mayor of Rome led to radical improvements in air quality - thanks to new regulations and a comprehensive strategy for public transportation - and in sewage management. 200 new parks and gardens, equivalent to 5.300 hectares were created.
In his short mandate as Minister of Environment and Urban Areas in 1993, he established the Valle Averto (Venice Lagoon) and the Valli di Comacchio (River Po Delta) natural reserves, together with incentives for farmers operating in natural parks.
In 2008, as Minister of Culture, he enacted a new Landscape Code – the so-called ‘Codice Rutelli’ - a powerful legal instrument for safeguarding the landscape and promoting the coplanning of land use between the state and regional administrations.
Among his achievements is Law n. 113 of 1992, which mandates planting a tree for every new child born. During Rutelli’s tenure as Mayor, 120.000 new trees were planted in the city of Rome. He was the promoter of important Conferences on Climate Change. Two of them were held in the Chamber of Deputies and in the French Senate, in preparation to the Climate Agreement in Paris, December 2015.
 He was among the promoters of the Montreal Treaty Ratification bill and, in 2015, suggested to extend this instrument to replace HCFC (chemical substances that contribute enormously to the greenhouse effect). This goal was later achieved (in October 2016), through the Kigali Agreement.
In 2015 he was the promoter of important Conferences on Climate Change. Two of them were held in the Chamber of Deputies and one in the French Senate, in preparation to the Climate Agreement in Paris. In November 2016 he promoted - in collaboration with UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Italian Mission to FAO - an international conference on the decisive role of forests and sustainable agriculture in the SDG Agenda and climate change policies. For his environmental engagement he has been a member of the Board of Legambiente and later Coordinator of the Green Party.
 On July 2017 he promoted, in collaboration with the University of Milan and IED an International conference, The Climate and Energy Agenda in the Evolving Global Scenario. 0In Rome, his administration established a coordination mechanism involving the city, schools, universities and research centers, in order to decrease the pressure on the historic “La Sapienza” University, creating a new modern University (“Roma Tre”) and new Faculties, roads and infrastructures for the second Roman University. He created a new system of municipal libraries (+ 40% of public libraries in year 2000), opened the Biomedical Campus in Trigoria and the largest Italian private University for lifelong learning (“Third Age University”); he introduced for the first time a certification of Italian language for foreigners; launched the first national events ("Enzymes") for youth creativity and innovation. He transformed the old Zoo into a Bio-Park, in line with new models of management and promotion of biodiversity. His Report on the State of the environment in Rome (309 pages, 1997) remains the most complete publication on the urban ecosystem of the Capital City.
As Minister, he established the National Center for Books and Reading; launched a 16 point program to improve accessibility to culture of people with disabilities through new technologies; set up the Italian Design Council; promoted innovative projects in the fields of restoration and furtherly developed the digital census of cultural heritage.


Francesco Rutelli is a tireless advocate for mutual comprehension, pluralism and multilateral governance through international cooperation.
Cultural diplomacy was at the center of his agenda on every occasion he had to meet personally with many international leaders over the last 25 years.
Since the very first steps of his political life, Rutelli has campaigned for laws and actions against malnutrition and starvation, and for international economic development. This was part of a mobilization that brought Italy (at the beginning of the 1980s) to an unprecedented increase in the financing of multilateral development institutions. In line with this approach, in the Italian and in the European Parliaments, he was member of the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees and supported campaigns to cancel the international debts of Least Developed Countries.
As Mayor of Rome, Rutelli devoted special attention to international cooperation: he relaunched the historical twinning agreement between Paris and Rome, and established new bilateral programs with New York, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo and Buenos Aires. In 1995, Rome organized the first Local Agenda 21 Conference with the attendance of 100 Mayors of Mediterranean cities; Rutelli was then elected President of Medcities network. International humanitarian solidarity was a priority under his leadership, with technical and financial aid delivered during the Balkans conflict; support for decentralized development projects in Latin American, Asian and African Cities; two international gatherings at which dozens of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates participated. Inter-faith and inter-culture dialogue and integration were promoted, during his tenure, through many international meetings and conferences held at the “Campidoglio”.
As Minister of Culture (2006-2008) Rutelli developed a new approach, consistent with the Italian compliance to UNESCO policies, on the application of the 1970 Convention Against Illicit Trafficking. This was defined by The Economist as “a treasure hunt with a difference: it is conducted not with metal detectors, but by negotiations”. Rutelli reached some decisive agreements with international museums, like the Getty Museum in Malibu, which allowed not only the restitution of 40 invaluable masterpieces to Italy but, also, established a comprehensive cooperative framework, including important lending from Italian museums, joint exhibitions, research, conservation and restoration projects. Agreements were also concluded with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, bringing back to Italy the Euphronio’s Vase and the Morgantina Silvers; and with the Boston Fine Arts Museum, which saw the return of Vibia Sabina’s statue (the wife of Emperor Hadrian) to Tivoli, with a dozen other masterpieces. Many international agreements were also established, in order to cooperate against illicit trafficking, to enhance scientific cooperation, promoting scholarships and joint excavations.
During Rutelli’s ministerial mandate, Italy consistently strengthened its return policy of cultural artifacts illegally detained in Italy. In this regard, thanks to the activation of Carabinieri Special Cultural Heritage Command, 96 archeological artifacts (IV-II Millennium b. C.) were returned to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and 41 precious objects to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rutelli also gave “green light” to the restitution of the Venere di Cirene, a colonial acquisition, to Lybia. He strongly supported the re-constitution and the first re-opening of the Baghdad Museum as well as the restoration of the Museum of Kabul, including the training of Afghani archeologists in Rome. In Iran, Italian experts supported the restoration of the ancient Bam Walls, severely damaged by an earthquake.
A Memorandum was signed by Rutelli with Egypt for a new set-up of the National Cairo Museum and for conservation and training activities. In Jordan, Italy participated in the projects based in the Petra site. In Israel, a trilateral cooperation was established, with the Antiquities Authorities and the “Custodia di Terrasanta”, for the preservation of the so-called House of Simon Peter. Another initiative concerned the Dead Sea Scrolls Conservation Program.
During the “Italian Spring in Japan” in 2007, a world record of public attendance was established, with the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciazione in Tokyo National 12 Museum. More than 350 initiatives were held, and the first agreement on technical cooperation between the UNESCO Sites of the two Countries was signed.
Rutelli promoted a special lending project (190 artworks) to the Beijing World Art Museum as well as technical cooperation activities with China in the fields of Heritage Conservation. New agreements were signed with the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and Laos.
Cinema and Theater were other important areas of cultural diplomacy for Francesco Rutelli: film co-production agreements were concluded with China, Argentina, Slovenia, Croatia, and Switzerland.
A Cooperation Memorandum on Theater was agreed with the Chilean Government.
da dicembre 1993 a gennaio 2001
In parlamento e al governo
Presidenza COPASIR
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