In an effort to bring Italy more in line with Europe, state-run museums, monuments and archeological sites will be changing their opening hours and entry fees, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced last week.
Starting July 1, opening hours at major sites like the Colosseum in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and Pompeii, will be extended until 10 pm on Fridays. On the first Sunday of each month, entry will be free. The “Museum Night” (La notte dei musei) event, when museums are open late into the night, will be held twice a year (instead of just once), and entry will cost 1 euro.
As for entry fees, people under 18 will be exempt from payment, while those aged 18-25 will pay a reduced fee. Those 65 and over, who have enjoyed free entry so far, will have to pay.
In the meantime, the national travel and tourism federation Federturismo said that 26 million foreign tourists are expected in Italy this summer season, with a foreign tourist expenditure forecast exceeding 13 billion euros.
On the other hand, consumer association Federconsumatori said only 31% of Italians would be taking a traditional summer holiday and that fewer people would be traveling abroad due to the continuing economic crisis.