The task of organising the event was undertaken by the Florence local authority. But, since the national authorities provided some four fifths of the finance, they too had a direct input. This came from two separate ministries, the Ministry of Tourism and Performed Arts and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, with different responsibilities and contrasted approaches. The latter was concerned to use the initiative to address the massive heritage backlog which dominates cultural policy in Italy.
The vision for the Cultural Year came from the City. Their intention was to create:
"a great festival of culture, art and science, which looked both to past and present, from Florence to Europe and from Europe to Florence, opening out the City to the rest of the world".
The 'festival' approach necessitated special programming, and there were three aspects to this:
extra programming expressly for the European City of Culture provided by the City's institutions;
some events already planned thought to be sufficiently "representative" to be included in the programme;
international programme elements requested mainly from other European countries.
Development of the cultural infrastructure was also a theme in Florence 86. This took the form of a significant programme of restoration projects. Some completed refurbishments were launched during the year e.g. the sixteenth century room in the Museum of History of Science. More particularly, plans were evealed during the year for a number.of new developments which the City intended to take forward, for example, the new Natural History Museum, the Documentation Centre for Science and Technology, and a Contemporary Art Centre to be housed in disused industrial premises.