If you make it past the sulphuric quarries at the city's entry, you'll quickly realise that Tivoli is also home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Villa Adriana (pictured) and Villa d'Este. With 47 listings, Italy is the most represented country on the UNESCO listing, which should stand as a reminder that there are copius amounts of culturally significant sites to visit in Italy with or without UNESCO status. Culture is big business in Italy; the culture sector accounts for around 12% of the entire economy, but with Italy's stalled economy, there is never enough money to manage the upkeep of Italy's many monuments and cultural sites.
Increasingly, Italy is catching up with other nations and seeking corporate support in the management and upkeep of its heritage. Newsweek spelled out their own figures, pointing out that heritage sites are not just struggling to stay afloat, but that they are literally crumbling. In January 2011, Tods made headlines with their agreement to fund restoration works of Rome's Colosseum and Milan's La Scala theatre, and in recent days talk has been circulating that Diesel plan to fund the restoration of Venice's Rialto Bridge.
Which brings us to the case of Tivoli. Although the town and its villas are significant, and indeed, quite spectacular, increasingly dwindling visitor numbers attest to the competition in this country for the visitor's dollar. Tivoli's two villas, one located at the foot of the town, and the other, Villa D'este, in its centre, are operated seperately. A entry ticket during the summer forVilla d'Este is currently 11 euro, whilst a similar price is also asked at Villa Adriana. The latter, an outdoor site which is currently one of many throughout Italy which is not in full operation (areas are cordoned off due to their unsafety), has seen its ongoing requests for maintenance funding only being partially granted by the Ministry of Culture. A recent article suggested that Villa Adriana in particular, despite its grave needs for restoration works, is not considered a priority site, particularly in the face of an increasingly shrinking national culture budget. The question then, is it the responsibility of a site of international significance (as recognised by UNESCO) to find alternate forms of funding from the private sector. Or, could a joint ticket scheme between the villas improve patronage and boost their spending pots?