The Italian Ministry of Culture on Tuesday announced the nomination of 20 new directors to lead the country's top state museums, with seven foreign experts among the selected candidates.
German Eike Schmidt, 47, currently curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Institute of Art of Minneapolis in the United States, will be the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Canadian-British James Bradburne, former director general of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, will head the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, while German archaeologist Gabriel Zuchtriegel, 34, will direct Paestum National Archaeological Museum, south of Naples.
Austrian Peter Assmann will leave its current post as director of the Landesmuseum in Linz to lead the Ducal Palace in Mantua, northern Italy.
Italian art historian Anna Coliva, 62, was confirmed as director of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, while her colleague Paola Marini, 63, was named at the head of the Accademia Gallery in Venice.
French Sylvain Bellenger, curator of the Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture Department at the Art Institute of Chicago, will be in charge of the Capodimonte Museum in Naples.
Overall, ten women and ten men were equally appointed for the 20 posts.
"With these appointments of great international scientific stature, the Italian museum system really turns the page and recovers after decades of delay," Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told local media.
The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities had issued its first-ever international call for applications for 20 new museum directors early in January, as part of a major overhaul in the management of Italy's leading art institutions and archaeological sites.
At the time, Franceschini had expressed his hope the call would also attract international museum professionals.
The aim would be to modernize the Italian museum and historic sites system, and make it more dynamic, competitive, and, ultimately, more profitable in the next years, according to the ministry.
Four prominent Italian museum specialists currently engaged in managing positions abroad were included in the list of new directors.
Among them were Martina Bagnoli, curator for Medieval Art and Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, who will head the Galleria Estense in Modena; and Flaminia Gennari Santori, deputy director of Miami's Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, who will lead Rome's National Gallery of Ancient Art.