We all like a freebie, right? Well how about free tickets to over 300 Italian state museums, gardens, monuments and archeological sites? Interested? Thought you might be!! Read on…….
Domenica al Museo free tickets
The government initiative called Domenica al museo, or Sunday at the Museum, has been running since July 2014 when the Italian Minister of Culture announced a range of new ideas to encourage people to take more of an interest in the arts.
Amongst the measures revealed by Minister Franceschini were that state art institutions would be free on the first Sunday of every month! That’s free! For everyone! Every month!! Not bad eh!
The list of participating museums etc can be found on the Italian Ministry of Culture and Environment website. Unfortunately I’ve not yet found an English version but its reasonably easy to work out. Alternatively, make sure you have Google Translate or a good Italian-English dictionary on stand by!
As you can imagine, however, some of the larger museums can get quite busy so some have an online reservations system while others use the old tried and tested first come, first in method. I’d advise you to check the particulars of your chosen venue before you go to make sure you don’t miss out!
It’s also worth mentioning that not every museum takes part. Private and civic museums are not part of the scheme although they have been invited to join in so it’s worth asking – you never know!
Night at the Museum free tickets
The ministry initiative also announced two annual “Nights at the Museum” when venues will stay open late into the evening, or even through the night. Entrance is set at just a Euro so, again, it’s a great way to get people in through the turnstiles. Many museums such as Florence’s Uffizi Gallery have gone even further and are now operating more flexible, extended opening hours on a weekly basis every Friday evening till 10pm. More details of participating sites can be found on the Ministry of Culture and Environment’s website.
Three more free museum entry schemes
And three more limited schemes have been launched in 2016 –
2 for 1 tickets on Valentine Day – more info here
Free Rome museum tickets for anyone holding RBS6Nations rugby tournament tickets on the weekends of home matches (in 2016 this was 12th, 13th & 14th February plus 26th, 27th & 28th February). Just take your ticket with you to the museum to claim your museum entry. For more info check out the Italian Rugby Federation’s website here
Free entry for women every year on International Women’s Day, March 8th here
Photography is now allowed in Italian museums
Another major change is that many museums now allow photography as long as you don’t use a flash. So the Doge’s Palace in Venice no longer reverberates to the shouts of “No foto!’ by palace wardens and we are all free to take photos from any angle of Michelangelo’s taught-torsoed Davide in Florence’s Accademia Gallery! Personally, this is a great step forward, as long as visitors don’t forget to actually look at the art as well as photographing their favourite pieces, although be aware that many museums and galleries have banned the selfie stick so always make sure you check before you click!
Don’t touch the artwork
Oh and by the way, whilst Minister Franceschini has removed some of the old barriers to our enjoyment of art, touching sculptures and artwork is still absolutely forbidden in most museums, as is leaving your mark in pen or graffiti so look with your eyes, not your fingers! It seems an obvious thing to say, but tourists have recently been caught carving their names into the Colisseum and have damaged a number of sculptures in their attempts to get photos etc – please be respectful or face the consequences! (The Colisseum vandals were fined €20,000!)
So as museums and monuments, galleries and gardens all across Italy prepare to throw open their doors for free all that’s left for us to do is check out which one(s) we’re going to visit! Italy not only tops the UNESCO world heritage site list but also has a long and complex history as a conqueror and leader in art circles so your choice is almost endless! Where will you be joining the celebration of art, archeology and all things horticultural? Leave me a note with your recommendations and reviews of your favourite museums or gardens! And next time you’re planning a trip or vacation to Italy, make sure to check the calendar and make a note in your diary for the first Sunday of the month – you could get to see Italy’s priceless art and archeology treasures for free!
Il Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali (The Ministry of Culture and Environment) official website links –
Video in Italian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-iphzJ6clI
20th JUNE 2015 – Art night in Venice http://www.veneziatoday.it/eventi/cultura/art-night-venezia-20-giugno-2015-programma.html
2016 dates for free admission courtesy of “Sunday at the Museum”
3rd January 2016
1st May (Note : this is a national holiday – Labour Day – so this may be changed)
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