In the early Seventies of XX century the visionary impulse of Franco Russoli shaped the project of Grande Brera: the project was based on the idea of expanding the world famous Pinacoteque in the whole Brera palace, with an extension of the exhibition spaces in the Citterio palace, in order to include the extraordinary modern and contemporary art collections donated by some important families to the Italian state. After almost 40 years the project was still unaccomplished. In summer 2012 the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage announced an agreement aimed at relaunching the project with an investment of 23 mn euro. As a consequence of this announcement a sharp and dramatic public debate took places. The case is used in this article in order to offer some interpretative hypothesis on the actual condition of public cultural policies in Italy.