International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
Director General

Director General

Stefano De Caro

Stefano De Caro was elected Director-General of ICCROM during the 27th General Assembly in November 2011.

De Caro has a long and distinguished career as an archaeologist, author, lecturer and teacher in several Italian universities, and as former Director-General of Antiquities with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

De Caro’s early career was defined by his experience managing the aftermath of the earthquake in Irpinia, Italy in the early 1980s. He was first Director of the Excavations Office of Pompeii, then Superintendent of Antiquities of the provinces of both Naples and Caserta, and finally Regional Director of Cultural Heritage of the Campania Region. As Regional Director, De Caro was a forerunner in the management of European projects for the conservation of cultural heritage under the Regional Operational Programme. Among other successes, he managed to draw audiences to cultural heritage by re-organizing many of the most prominent permanent sections of the Archaeological Museum of Naples as well as by promoting special exhibitions and the development of local museums.

While Director-General of Antiquities (2007-2010) at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, De Caro was instrumental in negotiating the return of archaeological objects illegally exported abroad. He was a key member of the ministry's commission negotiating bilateral and multilateral agreements. De Caro is acknowledged as a visionary, and his perspectives have greatly influenced national conservation programmes. He supported the development of the very first national guidelines on rescue archaeology and has been invited to represent Italy at various international conferences and meetings.

Throughout his career, De Caro has emphasized knowledge derived from field research. He promoted the publication of articles by specialists in the National Archaeological Bulletin, where he was Director for several years.  He has personally published over 300 scientific books and articles on topics ranging from archaeology to the Greek and Roman preservation of historic centres, cultural landscapes and intangible assets. De Caro has also curated exhibitions on Italian cultural heritage in China, France and Russia, among other countries.

Born in the small town of Boscoreale (Naples), De Caro pursued a career in classical archaeology beginning with a degree in Humanities from “Federico II” University of Naples. He continued his studies in archaeology at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, winning the prestigious fellowship at the Italian School of Archaeology of Rome and Athens in Greece.

De Caro has been a member of numerous international scientific committees and professional cultural associations in Italy and abroad. Grande Ufficiale of the Italian Republic and Knight of the Légion d’Honneur of the French Republic, he is also a member of the British Academy, Deutsche Archäologische Institut and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Herculaneum Conservation Project run by the Packard Humanities Institute. In addition, he and has been honoured with the “Outstanding Public Service Award” from the Archaeological Institute of America.