Italian museums on strike November 12

If you’re going to be in Italy on November 12, you might want to sit at a cafe and order an extra espresso, because many of the tourist sights will be closed.

Workers at museums and archaeological sites across the country plan to shut their doors on November 12 to protest massive budget cuts to arts and culture programming to the tune of 58 million euros ($82.02 million) annually in 2011 and 2012. The cuts were approved by the national government this summer.

Actually, when you factor in all the cuts to local government, which of course got passed on to arts and culture funding, the figure is more like 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) over the next two years.

The strike will also include other public institutions such as theatres and libraries. It’s unclear at this stage how many will participate, but considering recent large protests in places like Greece and France over austerity measures, Italy’s may be a big one.

[Photo of the statue Laocoön and His Sons in the Vatican Museum courtesy Damon Green via Gadling’s flickr pool. Chances are the Vatican Museum will remain open because it’s actually in another country!]