Italy’s culture minister announced this week that the country will stop offering free admission to state museums this fall.
About 480 state museums — including the Colosseum in Rome, the Uffizi gallery in Florence, and Pompeii Archaeological Park in Naples — are currently free and open to the public on the first Sunday of every month through “Domenica al Museo” (“Sunday at the Museum”).
In a press conference, Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said the government would stop the free Sunday program in an attempt to avoid “undervaluing our sites” and stop logistical programs caused by swarths of tourists showing up on the free days, according to The Local Italy.
The changes will take effect after the summer.
Some critics of the plan called for a program that would only charge foreign visitors and keep the museums free for Italian citizens.
In a Facebook video responding to criticism, Bonisoli said that free entry to the museums “could happen to a greater extent than in the past, but in an intelligent way.” Museum directors would have the freedom to designate their own free days, in response to seasonal fluctuations in visitation. The minister did not provide any additional information about when these changes could roll out.
Regular admission to storied Italian attractions does not come cheap, especially for a day with multiple stops. Admission to the Colosseum costs $14 (€12) and a ticket into the Vatican costs about $20 (€17).