Just over 50 million people visited state museums, archaeological sites and monuments in 2017 across Italy. More than half of those were in the regions of Lazio and Tuscany.
Rome and Florence proved to be the real magnets for visitors. Of 23 million entries to museums and archaeological sites in Lazio, 22 million alone were in Rome.
Florence reflected a similar dominance in Tuscany. Of 7 million total entries in the central Italian region popular with foreign visitors, 6.5 million were in Florence.
Sites in the central Italian regions, propped up by huge visitor numbers at famous locations such as the Uffizi Galleries in Florence or the Colosseum in Rome, receive an average of 165,000 visitors each per year, higher than the national average. The Colosseum alone attracted more than 7 million visitors in 2018.
Just over 30 per cent of Italians aged six and over said they had visited a museum in the last 12 months in ISTAT's report. The percentage of people who had visited an archaeological site or monument was lower.
These are some of the key cultural statistics contained in the Italian Statistical Yearbook 2018, published on December 28th by Italy's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT).
The annual resumé of life in Italy, published since 1878, offers an overview of economic, social and cultural trends based on an analysis of data from the previous year.
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The yearbook provides statistics on everything from data about tourist arrivals (German and French constitute the largest EU groups, followed by Brits), to the number of books published, machines exported or crops harvested.
More than 60,000 books were published – by just over 2,000 publishers – in Italy in 2017, for example. Large publishers average 228 books each, while small publishers manage about four per year. The combined number of private and public libraries reached 13,888, with the southern region of Campania registering the largest average number of library users. The total number of concert attendees and cinema goers in 2017 decreased.
One in ten Italians aged six and over went to a classical music concert in 2017, while one in five in the same age bracket attended a theatre performance.
Overall, cultural participation across Italy was down, mainly due to the decrease in the number of cinema viewers and concert goers.
Watching films at the cinema nevertheless remains the most popular form of cultural activity. Nearly 50 per cent of all Italians aged over six said they had been to the cinema at least once in the 12-month survey period. Only a quarter of the same demographic had attended a live sports events in the same period.
At the other end of the cultural participation scale, just over 20 per cent the population “does not undertake any cultural activity”, according to the report.