Italy investigates inflated prices for Colosseum tickets

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Italy investigates inflated prices for Colosseum tickets
Visitors to Rome's ancient Colosseum have complained of difficulties in getting tickets via official channels throughout 2023. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Italy's competition watchdog has opened an investigation into ticket sales for entry to the Colosseum and other ancient sites in Rome following widespread reports of difficulties in buying them via the official website.


Visitors have long complained of being unable to buy tickets for Rome’s Colosseum from the one and only official vendor, as big tour companies reportedly snap them up weeks in advance and then repackage them as much more expensive guided tours.

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And now Italy’s antitrust commission is investigating the official vendor Società Cooperativa Culture (CoopCulture), as well as the websites Musement, GetYourGuide, Tiqets and Viator over claims that tickets are being bought up online by bots and resold at inflated prices, according to a report in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Tickets have frequently been “impossible” to get hold of via the official website, Corriere wrote, but are easily found at higher prices on other websites “usually in combination with other services” such as ‘skip the line’ entry, a tour guide service, transport, or sightseeing tours of the city.

Corriere reported that “from the end of 2022 and in the first half of 2023, tickets for entrance to the Colosseum sold out immediately after they were issued on the CoopCulture website, while they remained available on intermediary platforms.”

Full-price single tickets for the Colosseum Archaeological Park, which include entry to the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Domus Aureas, cost 18 euros each via the official website.

But on Tuesday the website appeared to show no availability until August 9th, though ‘skip the line’ tickets for the same day were shown as available from numerous resellers online at around double the price.


Colosseum Archaeological park director Alfonsina Russo said it was “about time” the issue was investigated, adding that she had filed a complaint with police last year over the bulk buying of tickets.

Italy’s biggest tourist attraction, the Colosseum receives millions of visitors each year.

The ancient monument has already been in the international headlines this week after a series of reports of vandalism by tourists prompted Russo to criticise tourists who “lack knowledge” about the site and are more interested in “taking selfies”.


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