Imagine climbing through the tiered seating encircling the arena which 2,000 years ago, was the battleground for over a 1,000 gladiator fights. Stepping over figurines made from the lava that destroyed Pompeii. Orstaring Michelangelo’s David right in the eye at Galleria dell’Accademia.And now, imagine getting to do this for free.
The Italian government recently pledged to restart its “Domeniche al Museo” (Sundays at the museum) scheme, which, starting November, will offer visitors free entry to state-run museums and archeological sites on the first Sunday of the month.
The scheme had been shut down in 2018 by the former Italian Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli, who cited visitors overcrowding and undervaluing the sites as the reason. With the new Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, free entry into iconic sites like the Colosseum in Rome, Pompeii and the Palace of Caserta , Turin’s Palace of Venaria, Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia and Trieste’s Castello di Miramare, has once again, been revived. This move comes as a relief to many tourists, considering the base entry fare for entering the Colosseum is about €16/Rs1,263 and €22/Rs1,737 to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia.
The scheme however, does not extend to museums and archeological sites which are either privately owned, or are run by local authorities. The Culture Ministry did state that a cap on the number of visitors at some of the sites would be implemented. To see all the historically rich sites which are a part of this scheme, read here.
Sanjana Ray is that unwarranted tour guide people groan about on trips. When she isn't geeking out on travel and history, she can be found walking around the streets, crying for Bengali food. She is former Digital Writer at National Geographic Traveller India.