From today, every Italian will get €500 from the government on their 18th birthday to spend on books

It can also be used to buy theatre, cinema and museum tickets

Christopher Hooton
Friday 04 November 2016 11:18 GMT

All Italians celebrating their 18th birthday between 3 November 2016 and 31 December 2017 (the scheme could be extended) can now claim €500 to spend on cultural items, as part of an initiative by the Italian government to enrich the lives of its citizens.

The sum can be claimed though an app called 18app and be spent on books, concert tickets, theatre tickets, cinema tickets, museum visits, trips to national parks and more.

The move will cost the Italian government €290 million, but parliamentary undersecretary Tommaso Nannicini, who spearhead the scheme, believes it is money well spent.

“The initiative sends a clear message to youngsters, reminding them that they belong to a community which welcomes them once they come of age,” he told Corriere.

“It also reminds them how important cultural consumption is, both for enriching yourself as a person and strengthening the fabric of our society.”

The app must be downloaded before the end of the year, even if a user’s birthday falls in 2017, and provides printable and downloadable vouchers issued by the culture ministry.

Next year, a similar scheme will be enacted for teachers, granting them €500 to spend on the development of their career.

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