‘Americans can pay’: Italian minister says famous sites should hike entry fees

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
‘Americans can pay’: Italian minister says famous sites should hike entry fees
Visitors queue outside Florence's Uffizi gallery on April 1st, 2017. The world-famous museum said on Tuesday it would raise peak-season ticket prices to help cover energy costs. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

After Florence’s Uffizi announced it would raise peak-season prices, Italy's culture minister said on Tuesday it was the right move as the “average American family” could afford to pay more.


The Uffizi art gallery in Florence said it was increasing its basic ticket price in the high season from 20 to 25 euros per person to help it "cope with the increase in the costs in the energy and construction sector".

The high season rate for entry to the world-famous collection of paintings and statues applies from March 1st to November 30th. However, early birds can get in for 19 euros before 8:55 am.


The Uffizi’s management on Tuesday said the single-visit tickets were mainly bought by foreign tourists.

The price of other tickets - including low season and membership passes – remains unchanged.

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Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano later on Tuesday told reporters that he thought the Uffizi price hike was fair and “in step with European standards” - and singled out American tourists, who he said could afford to pay higher prices for entry to all of Italy’s cultural sites.

“After all, the average American family that comes to Italy spends 10 to 20 thousand dollars, because of the cost of flights and hotels,” he claimed.

“So paying 20 euros for a ticket to see a unique site like Pompeii can also be done,” he said.

The video of his interview was widely shared on social media, drawing indignant comments from many Italian Twitter users.

“Italian public museums exist for us, not for foreign tourists, Minister,” said one Italian commenter.

“Our cultural sites are becoming resorts,” lamented another user.

Since being appointed culture minister in Giorgia Meloni’s government in October, Sangiuliano has also revived a contentious plan to introduce entry fees for the Pantheon in Rome.

The plan, which would mean visitors are charged €2 for admission, was initially drawn up by a previous culture minister but scrapped in 2018.

As a place of worship the Pantheon is free to visit, but talks are now underway between the ministry and the Catholic Church over proposed entry fees - though Roman residents and those visiting for services would not be charged, the ministry said.

Sangiuliano cites admission prices for other major European cultural landmarks such as the Musèe de l’Armèe in Paris which charges €14 to visit the tomb of Napoleon, or Westminster Abbey in London which has an entry fee of €25.


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Anonymous 2023/01/12 04:36
I am always amazed with how inexpensive various historic tourist sites are in Italy, given the amount of upkeep they require. When visiting the UK we have bypassed many sites, due to how ridiculously expensive they are compared to Italy and many other European countries.

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