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Statutory protection of cultural heritage


Criminal law also protects cultural heritage, broadly understood both as cultural assets (i.e., immovable and movable assets that have artistic, historical, archaeological, ethnic, anthropological, archival and bibliographic value) and as landscape assets (buildings and areas that reflect the historical, cultural, natural, morphological and aesthetic value of the territory).

The particular value of these assets requires additional protection compared to other assets that are similar, but which have no cultural or landscape merits. Thus, in addition to ordinary safeguards put in place for movable assets (whose theft, fencing, damaging, etc. are punished by ordinary laws), cultural assets are subject to special and reinforced protection, contained in legislative decree no. 42 of 22 January 2004 (Code of cultural heritage and landscape). Likewise, landscape assets, in addition to ordinary protections provided for by regulations applicable to the field (e.g., rules punishing unauthorized development) are contemplated and taken care of by the same legislative decree 42/2004.


Some of the main cases established by the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape specifically concern the purchase and sale of cultural assets and their exportation and sale abroad. These rules are of particular interest also in the field of the art market, which increasingly requires specific support to ensure the correct circulation of the goods with regard to their authenticity, lawful origin, and correctness of the procedures adopted for sale and delivery. In this specific area, money-laundering laws, which have been recently integrated with the provision of auction houses as subjects obliged to fulfil the obligations provided for by legislative decree 231/2007, have also gained importance.

Even the rules on landscape protection require a careful assessment of their applicability to specific cases, in the light of the intertwining – not always orderly – of regulations of various origin and levels that have been established to protect particularly valuable areas of the national territory.


Baccaredda Boy Law Firm offers its professional advice in this field, supporting and collaborating with established professionals in the national and international art and antiques market, offering the skills necessary to comply with current regulations, while assisting, where necessary, with the competent authorities.

Over the years, Baccaredda Boy Law Firm has provided legal assistance in various proceedings relating to statutory protection of cultural heritage, including cases of counterfeiting of works of art or disputes over the buying and selling of goods.