There were over 170,000 admissions on the first Sunday of Free Museums sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC) in Italy. This initiative offers free admissions to state museums on the first Sunday of each month.
Among the most-visited sites were the Colosseum with about 24,000 visitors; Pompeii with 11,000; and the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti in Florence with 10,000.
The promotion of MiBAC was introduced by Minister Franceschini in 2014. From that first edition until today, it has registered over 17 million visitors. To these are added the visitors of the municipal museums that have gradually joined the promotion.
In issuing the official data of the first edition of this year, Minister Franceschini confirmed that this operation will also be ensured throughout 2020. Every first Sunday of the month is again free museum admission day during which time the ministry hopes for the participation of more municipal museums.
This popular government scheme had been scrapped by its previous culture minister. The then culture minister, Alberto Bonisoli, replaced Free Sunday with a more complicated system of 20 free museum days spread out throughout the year. Bonosoli said the change was necessary, because free museum Sundays caused long queues and overcrowding at the country’s most popular attractions.
Now, Italian Culture Ministry has reintroduced the original Free Sundays scheme which was brought back by Minister Franceschini when he got his old job as culture minister back in the new Five-Star-Democratic Party coalition government. The culture ministry has said that visitor numbers would now be capped at some sites on Free Sundays.
Included in the free admission are all state-run museums and archaeological sites. These include world-famous sites and monuments such as the Colosseum, Pompeii, Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, the Reggia di Caserta, and Trieste’s Miramare Castle.