Of all historical monuments, castles are the ones that are most subject to interference and the risk of inappropriate conversions. The sometimes precarious state of conservation, the fact that use for modern purposes is not always easy, the delicate relationship with the natural or built-up landscape that surrounds it and references to contexts that are so different from the present day, require or encourage work to be carried out on architectural structures or on the surrounding environment which sometimes has disastrous consequences.
Careful work aimed at protecting and safeguarding these structures is therefore essential.
The fundamental tools for ensuring such protection are as follows:
- Action taken by owners to ensure that restoration work is carried out and that monuments are put to uses that respect their historical and architectural characteristics.
- Restrictions relating to monuments provided for by current state legislation on cultural treasures and in particular by the “Code for Cultural Heritage and the Landscape” issued by Legislative Decree no. 41 of 22nd January 2004. This Code provides for, as a form of protection, a “Declaration of the cultural interest of the treasure” which is issued by the competent Superintendency, as a peripheral department of the Ministry for Cultural Activities and Heritage, and notified to the owner, possessor or holder under any title, in accordance with articles 13, 14 and 15. The Treasures notified may not be destroyed, damaged or put to any use that is not compatible with their historical or artistic character. Any demolition or conversion work, or transfer to another place, must be authorized by the Superintendency.
- The indirect obligation, provided for by current state legislation and defined by means of appropriate instructions on distances, measurements and other work which may relate to the natural or built-up environment surrounding a castle. The subject is governed by articles 45, 46 and 47 of the Code for cultural treasures and the landscape”.
- The town planning restrictions, provided for by regional legislation on territorial planning and by the town planning regulations in force in the Municipality in which the monument is situated. The owner must check which town planning and building regulations apply to the monument he owns, as specified by the Town plan, by the Itemized Plan where this exists and by the territorial planning regulations, and must strictly comply with the regulations and instructions they contain.
- The action of protection bodies, which may bring to the notice of competent authorities and public opinion any threat to the characteristics of the monument and of the surrounding environment.
Measures for safeguarding and protection are illustrated in the booklet “La legislazione statale e regionale sui beni culturali (State and regional legislation on cultural treasures) published by the Consortium as part of its “Documentation” series.