The Hon. Francesco Rutelli

Former Honorary President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

Former Honorary President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (2013-14)


Francesco Rutelli is an Italian politician, currently serves as the Honorary President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. Rutelli was born in Rome in 1954; He is married to the Italian journalist Barbara Palombelli and they have four children. He is a journalist since 1983.

President Francesco Rutelli is Chairman of the political movement of Alleanza per l’Italia (founded in December 2009) and co-Chairman of the European Democratic Party, re-elected in December 2012.

In the last two decades, as Mayor of Rome and, more recently, as Minister of Culture, Francesco Rutelli has contributed to the creation and development of many crucial infrastructures, cultural institutions, museums and galleries in Italy. Among them, the Auditorium-Città della Musica, the MAXXI Museum, the new Ara Pacis shrine/museum, a vast restoration and archeological excavation program and the opening of over 20 museums and exhibition spaces in Rome, including the National Gallery of Ancient Art, the Civic Gallery of Modern Art (later renamed MACRO) 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 (Florentine Musical May) Auditorium and the conclusion of the Reggia di Venaria (Torino) restoration.

He enacted the new Landscape Code and a new tax credit/tax shelter system for the movie industry. He established the Teatro Festival in Naples and re-launched the International Festival of Spoleto. He promoted the first White Book on Italian creative industries. He has led a significant cultural diplomacy strategy for Italy, and through successful negotiations managed the recovery of priceless stolen crafts and historical masterpieces, in cooperation with international museums and cultural institutions, developing new agreements on lending policies and scientific cooperation.

He was elected as a member of Camera dei Deputati (lower House of Parliament) in 1983, aged 29, and later in 1987, 1992, 2001 and 2006. He was elected at the Senate in 2008 and at the European Parliament in 1999.

Since 1989, he is President of the “Centro per un Futuro Sostenibile” (CFS - Center for a Sustainable Future), which promotes initiatives on global environment and climate change.

In December 1993 he was elected Mayor of Rome. He was the youngest ever (39 years old) and the first to be elected directly by citizens; he was then confirmed in 1997 with 990.000 votes (the highest number ever reached in any election in the city).
He was designated by the “Ulivo” (centre-left) coalition as candidate for Prime Minister in the 2001 general election, challenging Silvio Berlusconi. During the campaign, the coalition led by Rutelli recovered 10 percentage points in popular support and got 16,4 million votes, resulting nevertheless defeated.

In 2006 Rutelli was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture in the Prodi Government. He was also the delegate for Tourism.

Between 2008 and 2011 he has been the Chairman of Copasir (the Parliamentary Committee of Overview on Intelligence). He has drafted and published reports on human trafficking as a strategic threat and the first Report to Parliament on Cyberspace and its implications for national security.

In his international engagement, he also chaired for two terms the Human Rights Committee of the Camera dei Deputati. He has a Diploma in International Organizations from SIOI (the Italian Society for International Organization). He has chaired the Urban Policies Committee in Brussels and has been an Advisor for Urban Development to the former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali. Today he contributes to several international think tanks activities.

President Message

Francesco Rutelli
(Honorary President of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy)