The Italian government has launched an initiative giving young adults a €500 "cultural bonus" on their 18th birthday to spend on "books, concert tickets, theatre tickets, cinema tickets, museum visits, and trips to national parks".
It is estimated the scheme, which launched on 3rd November with vouchers valid to spend until 31st December 2017, will cost the Italian government about €290m in total, with 574,000 teens qualifiying this year, according to Corriere.
18-year-olds born in 1998 will be able to choose what to spend their voucher on through an app, called 18app, which must be downloaded before the year is out.
The scheme is designed to give young people a direct say where funds to promote culture will go, not bureaucracy. No distinction will be made between highbrow and pop culture.
Parliamentary undersecretary Tommaso Nannicini said he wanted Italian teenagers to know "how important cultural consumption is, both for enriching yourself as a person and strengthening the fabric of our society." EU citizens living in Italy, including Britons, will also be eligible.
“The initiative sends a clear message to youngsters, reminding them that they belong to a community which welcomes them once they come of age,” said Nannicini.
Prime minister Matteo Renzi originally announced the programme in November 2015, 10 days following the Paris attacks to combat terrorism. “We have centuries of history that proclaim the fact that culture will beat ignorance, that beauty is more tenacious than barbarism,” he said, according to the Telegraph.