The history

The Direzione Generale per le Antichità (Directorate-General for Antiquities) was first established, under the name of Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici (Directorate-General for Archaeological Heritage), by the Legislative Decree n. 368/1998 "Establishment of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, pursuant to art. 11 of Law March 15, 1997, n. 59", that reformed the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage; its organization was regulated by DPR (Presidential Decree) 441/2000.

Previously, the central administration in charge of the archaeological heritage was the Central Bureau for Environmental, Architectural, Archaeological, and Historical-Artistic Heritage, divided into "directorates" (since 1994 responsible only for archaeological and historical artistic heritage, following the establishment of the Central Office for the Environment and Landscape.

The Legislative Decree n. 368/1998 regulated both central and peripheral administrations: it instituted the Regional Superintendences (established as Regional Directorates in 2004 through the Decree of the President of the Republic 173), and eight Directorates-General.

Actually, the Regional Superintendences and these Directorates-General became effective only in 2001, when it came into force the Ministerial Decree May 11, 2001, concerning the articulation of the central structure of the General Secretariat and the Directorates General.

In the subsequent reorganizations of the Ministry, the Directorate-General for Archaeological Heritage has retained its autonomy, with a continuity on the coordination and direction of activities to protect the archaeological heritage and with specific attributions, justified by the peculiarities of the matter dealt with by the reform of 2004 (Legislative Decree n. 3/2004 and Decree of the President of the Republic 173/2004, with dependence on the Department for Cultural and Environmental Heritage) and the reform of 2006 (Leg. Decree 262/2006 and Decree of the President of the Republic 233/2007).

The latest reform of the Ministry dates back to the Decree of the President of the Republic 91/2009 "Regulation amending the Presidential Decrees to reorganize the Ministry and the Offices working directly with the Minister for Cultural Goods and Activities." At this time, the new name of Directorate-General for Antiquities has been given. It recalls the name of "Directorate General of Antiquities and Fine Arts" of the Ministry of Education, established in 1881, divided into commissariats and technical departments, later replaced in 1907 by the Superintendences.