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Is it the end for Italy’s monthly free entry to museums?

Published on August 2, 2018 by C. P.

Palazzo Barberini, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra CC BY 2.0 license

Italy’s newly appointed minister of Culture Alberto Bonasoli has hinted at the imminent scrapping of the extremely popular free entrance to state-run museums on the first Sunday of each month. Mr. Bonasoli has said that the initiative is untenable in financial terms and that many smaller museums are struggling because of the “obligation to keep open”.

He is also considering allowing each state-owned museum to design their own calendars of free events, according to the specific features of the area they’re in or the type of visitors usually found at each of those.

Dubbed “#domenicalmuseo” in Italian, the venture has attracted over 12 million visitors (many of them foreign travellers) since it was launched in 2014.

What changes for tourists in Rome? (Hint: not much!)

You may be aware that free museum Sundays were already a replacement for Italy’s Culture Week. Cancelling free Sundays may be a huge let down but the thing is, Italian museums have always found a way to let visitors in for free or at a very discounted price. What was once Culture Week may very well make a comeback, or museums can indeed respond to Mr. Bonisoli with other alternative ideas.

While they do that, we at From Home to Rome would like to put your minds at ease – you will hardly notice the change when free Sundays end at the end of the summer. Why, you may ask?

  • Are you considering buying a city pass, granting you free or discounted entrances to many attractions in Rome? Passes won’t be affected, so you’ll have exactly the same chances to access Rome’s must sees for free by using their free entrance options. If anything, passes will be even more worth their price – we know for a fact that many people buy them but neglect to use the free entrances as they already will be visiting some landmarks on free Sundays.
  • The Vatican Museums won’t be subject to the proposed scrapping, obviously, as they are in another sovereign country.
  • Many museums in Rome are city-owned, not state-owned (the perks of being both a major city and the capital of Italy) and they have their own calendar of free events or have a free entrance throughout the year. A few examples? Museo delle Mura by Porta San Sebastian (Appian Way); Museo Napoleonico by Piazza Navona; Museo Barracco by Campo de’ Fiori.
  • Many more must-visit landmarks offer discounted entrances a few times a year: for example, the Galleria Nazionale has a 1 Eur ticket policy in check when it opens at night, as do the Capitoline Museums; the MAXXI Museum offers 7 Eur tickets throughout the summer; the Macro Museum, which will be reopening in early October, will have a free entrance as per its new director’s vision.


Until free Sundays are canceled, though, there is no reason to worry – enjoy your holidays as usual, or book your next stay in Rome knowing you will be able to enjoy for free many more landmarks, churches or monuments, regardless of the initiative.

As always, feel free to reach out for more information in our comments section!

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