This two-fold paper discusses 15 years of privatization of Italian cultural and architectural heritage between 1996 and 2010. The paper is composed by I) an introductory talk between Salvatore Settis und Roland Benedikter, and II) an essay by Roland Benedikter. It builds upon a 2004 publication by Roland Benedikter in the International Journal of Heritage Studies (IJHS), London. The present paper is one of the first attempts to get an overall view of the privatization process of Italian cultural and architectural heritage of the past 15 years. Part I is an easy to read introduction into the outstandingly complex topic. Part II is an in-depth elaboration that builds upon a review of the history of Italian heritage conservation, including the laws of the “Berlusconi culture” since the second half of the 1990s. It discusses some case studies and assesses the perspectives of the process at its 15-year-anniversary. The importance of the issue derives from the fact that the privatization process of Italian cultural heritage, numerically speaking the most important in Europe and one of the most important in the world, can be seen as to some extent exemplary for the development of the sector in Europe, including both its ambivalences and chances.