The vast majority of cultural heritage in Italy, about 70 per cent, is of a religious nature or of religious interest and belongs, in many cases, to the Catholic Church. Statistics refer to 110,000 churches and chapels, 85,000 of which are technically considered part of the national cultural heritage (1,535 monasteries, 5,500 libraries, 26,000 archives, 700 collections and ecclesiastical museums and thousands of paintings and sculptures).1 Furthermore, cataloguing the whole religious heritage, as promoted by the Italian Catholic Episcopal Conference, is extremely difficult and has not yet entirely been completed.2 This gives an idea of the special and unique role played by Catholicism in the Italian scene.3 Consequently, public funding does not depend on the nature of the owner, but on two different conditions: the cultural value of the artwork and its public ‘openness’ or public availability.