New visiting rules for Italian monuments

Visitors over 65 to pay for tickets

Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini has introduced new legislation regarding visiting times and ticket prices for Italy's heritage sites, taking effect from 1 July. The ministry says the changes are being taken to bring Italy in line with other European countries after data revealed that only two thirds of visitors to Italian museums pay for their tickets each year.

Under the plan visitors below the age of 18 retain free entry to museums however visitors over 65 will have to pay for their tickets from 1 July. Until now free entry had been granted to senior citizens including “wealthy foreign visitors” – a system described by the ministry as an “absurdity”. However a number of categories such as teachers will retain free entry, while visitors under 25 will continue to be charged a reduced ticket price.

Another central plank of the plan is free entry for everyone to all state-run museums, monuments and archaeological sites on the first Sunday of each month.

The popular Night of the Museums initiative is being boosted and will now take place at least twice a year, with a €1 ticket charge. There is also a change to visiting times for Italy's major museums and monuments such as the Colosseum, Pompeii and the Uffizi galleries, which will remain open every Friday night until 22.00, beginning 4 July. The Colosseum and Pompeii currently close on Fridays between 15.30 and 19.15, depending on the season and the Uffizi at 18.50.

In recent years important Italian heritage sites such as the Colosseum and Pompeii have been affected by strikes thanks to staffing shortages caused by budget cuts.

For more details see culture ministry website.