Tourists to be charged €5 entry fee to Pantheon.
Visitors to the Pantheon in Rome will be charged an entry fee from 1 July, Italy's culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano confirmed on Sunday.
The minister, speaking to veteran television journalist Bruno Vespa at the Forum in Masseria, stressed that the Pantheon is Italy's most visited site.
"With the proceeds from the tickets we will be able to provide food for the poor and undertake renovation and regeneration works on the monument," said Sangiuliano, who added that the "rear part of the site would be set up as a museum."
The minister also underlined his commitment, in general, to raising entry fees to Italy's museums, reports news agency ANSA, stating: "There is an ethical reason: if something is worth it, it must be paid for".
Earlier this year Sangiuliano announced the introduction of the €5 entry fee for tourists visiting the Pantheon, following an agreement between the culture ministry and church authorities in Rome.
Access to the monument will remain free to Rome residents, those attending religious services and the under-18s, while visitors under 25 will pay an entry fee of €2.
Under the agreement, proceeds from the ticket sales will be divided between the culture ministry, which will receive 70 per cent, with the remaining 30 per cent going to the diocese of Rome.
Until now the Pantheon has been free to visit, as a place of worship, in line with the custom of the Rome vicariate which does not charge entry fees for churches.
The Rome landmark attracted a record 9.3 million visitors in 2019.
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