History of an Italian Scandal: request for proposals, contracts, acts and reservations

If you haven’t done it yet, please read the previous episode.

Let’s continue our story.


The project for the Italian National Tourism Portal italia.it (AKA “Scegli Italia – Choose Italy”) gets started on the April 16th 2004, thanks to the hyperactive Minister for Innovation Lucio Stanca.

For two years there hasn’t been any certainty about the total amount of money available for the project: on the Ministry website the project specifications report €140mil. until December 2005. The Minister himself, in a press release dated March 2005, replying to angry tour operators (why were they angry? This is an interesting detail we’ll consider later), mentions 25 million. At almost the end of 2005 we get the amount we are talking about: 45 million.

This is the money people talk about. But what about the real money?

The real money consists effectively in 45 million of euro (plus 10 million, as we will see). At the moment we can track only the part of this money assigned to the development of the technological platform of the portal.

Let’s see.

On June 14th 2004, few months after italia.it project begun, pro-active Minister Stanca, with a ministerial decree, taps for the funding set assigned with a previous act to the ‘digital’ innovation of the country and grabs 45 million for the portal, 25 of which to be spent within 2004: 10 for the infrastructure of the portal and 15 in digital contents.

The most remarkable aspect shown by the last linked document (first two lines) is that the costs estimated for the project are not 45 million but 90 million (40 for the portal and 50 for the digital content!! A sensational detail discovered by Francesco. Obviously tireless Stanca hoped to grab the 45 million left with a further action that never reached any happy ending. A real pity: a dodgy website for ninety million of euro would have given fame to Italy for centuries.

Have these 25 million from taxpayers been spent in 2004? If this is the case, how? Who knows? What is certain is that in 2004 there is no sign of italia.it and no report about started activities.

If the money has been used, it wasn’t for the technological platform, considering that the request for proposals for the contract is dated 28.2.2005. The promoter, as we already know, is Innovazione Italia Spa, a national institution that pretends to be a modern corporation, controlled itself by Sviluppo Italia, a sort of obscure and intricate government agency with unclear affairs, officially devoted to the economical development of the country.

To recapitulate: italia.it gets starter on June 2004 and there are million available at that moment; however the request for proposals is dated February 2005, 8 months later. And when the request for proposal is published, the companies have 15 days to present their offers (request for proposals 28/02/2005, deadline 15/03/2005)! Magic of ministries.

The companies that succeed in presenting their proposals in time, have to put the offer before May 16th 2005. After this second deadline companies can only wait.

(partial translation of the Italian)

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