Milan offers tax deductions for art donations

City joins the Art Bonus scheme.

Milan city hall has joined the culture ministry’s Art Bonus scheme to encourage private citizens and companies or organisations to make donations in return for generous tax deductions.

Anybody making a donation to one of the approved projects in the scheme can deduct 65 per cent of the sum donated from their tax debt.

Art Bonus already includes a number of projects in Lombardy, but now Milan municipality has won approval for two more spectacular restoration works in the city for residents and visitors to support, and be rewarded for their generosity.

The first is the restoration of the Sala delle Asse on the first floor of the central Sforzesco castle, decorated by Leonardo in 1498. The work is a fresco representing a trompe l’oeil pergola covering the ceiling and walls with branches and golden cords. After the French conquest of the city in 1499, Leonardo’s work was plastered over.

Recovery began in 2013, and restorers were astounded by the beauty and condition of the work. It should be completed by 2019 in time for the planned celebration of Leonardo’s work in the city in which he spent most of his career. The €1.8m project will be among the exhibits expected to attract millions of visitors from all over the world.

The other new project added to the Art Bonus scheme is the restoration of the Sala del Grechetto in the nearby Palazzo Sormani, home to Milan’s central library and conference facilities. It was named for painter Giovanni Battista Castiglione, known as El Grechetto, although more recently it has been ascribed to an anonymous contemporary.

The work completely covers the walls of the room with 23 panels, painted between 1650 and 1670, producing a 360-degree representation of Orpheus enchanting the animals.

The complete restoration of the room is estimated to cost almost €800,000; while it is being completed, audiovisual talks will explain the details of the original paintings and the restoration work.

Open to anybody who wishes to contribute, the scheme is explained in a dedicated section of the city hall website.