Religious Buildings Foundation of the Italian Ministry of Interior (Fec)
It is a very special case within the Italian public administration panorama. The Religious Buildings Foundation (Fec) stands for a cultural heritage including artistic, art book and natural assets, second in importance only to that of the Italian State itself.
Set up in 1985, it is a body with legal personality represented by the Minister of Interior and administered, at central level, by the Central Directorate for the administration of the Religious Buildings Foundation (Department for civil liberties and immigration) of the Ministry. At provincial level, it is managed by the prefectures.
The assets belonging to the Fec are the following: architectural assets spread all over the national territory (more than 700 Catholic churches, including abbeys, monumental basiliques and world-renowned churches, and museums) and the works of art contained in them; art book assets (the Fec Library, containing a collection of 300 ancient books published since 1552); natural assets, woods and forests (the Tarvisio forest in the province of Udine, the natural estates of Quarto Santa Chiara, in the province of Chieti, and of Giardinello in the province of Palermo).
The Fec heritage, mostly made up of sacred buildings and works of art kept inside them, dates back to the end of the 19th century when, in compliance with the so-called ‘subversive legislation’, religious orders were dissolved and most of their assets allocated to the State. The Fund is responsible for the preservation, the renovation, the protection and the enhancement of its assets. Sacred buildings, in particular, are freely loaned to the Catholic Church and open to public worship.