Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies faces an uncertain existence as austerity begins to bite
As a further sign that Italy's priceless cultural heritage is under threat from stifling bureaucracy and government bean counters, one of the world's most important philosophy libraries is facing oblivion.
Leading 20th-century thinkers, from the Italian Renaissance historian Eugenio Garin to the Austro-British philosopher Karl Popper, have taught at the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies in Naples, which contains 300,000 volumes on philosophy and related disciplines.
"This is the most beautiful private library in Europe. We have been working on it for more than 40 years," the institute's founder, Gerardo Marotta, 85, said. Despite a decades-long delay to transfer the library's collection from a 17th-century palazzo and various other sites to a new central building, red tape and funding cuts appear to have scuppered the plans.
The institute's financing from the higher education ministry of around €3m (£2.4m) a year was abruptly cut to zero in 2010. Thousands of books are already on their way to storage depots outside the city.
But the Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, has insisted that efforts were being made to save the collection. "Creating a library for the precious volumes of the institute is a top priority not only on a local but on a national level," he said. Antonio Gargano, the institute's secretary-general, told The Independent that bureaucracy and political infighting also explained why plans to transfer the collection had stalled.
"It's vital we preserve this for future generations," he said.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Video: Woolwich attack - man with bloodied hands and knife addresses camera
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.