Tourists struggle to buy Colosseum tickets on official website.
Italy's competition watchdog has launched an investigation into the online sale of tickets for the Colosseum amid claims they are being bought in bulk by bots and resold to tourists at inflated prices.
The probe by the competition regulator follows complaints from tourists who say it almost impossible to purchase tickets via the official vendor site CoopCulture as they sell out immediately.
The antitrust authority is also investigating "secondary ticketing" websites Musement, GetYourGuide, Tiqets and Viator which offer Colosseum tickets at higher prices than the normal €18 cost, as part of packages including "skip-the-line" tours, reports Corriere della Sera newspaper.
, director of the Colosseum Archaeological park - which also includes the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Domus Aurea - welcomed news of the investigation.
"It's about time", Russo told news agency ANSA on Tuesday, adding that she had filed a complaint with police last year about the bulk buying of tickets.
, president of the Italian consumer rights group Codacons, said that the resale of tickets affected major events such as concerts as well as heritage sites, "creating economic damage for users of hundreds of millions of euros a year."
"We are asking the government to introduce new provisions capable of not only blocking secondary ticketing" - Rienzi said - "but also to impose heavy sanctions on those sites which, using sophisticated automatic systems, make tickets disappear from official channels and then resell them at higher prices".