Free entry to Italian state Museums.
Sundays in Italy are for relaxing. Italians like to indulge on mamma’s delicious italian treats, while drinking some good vino and spending time with loved ones. But what if you’re not a local? What if you’re visiting Italy on vacation and happen to be over the first Sunday of the month? Well, no time to relax! Did you know you could access Italy’s state museums for FREE!? That’s right! Free Museums in Italy!
Domenica al Museo free tickets
The government initiative called Domenica al museo, or Sunday at the Museum, has been running since July 2014 when the Italian Minister of Culture announced a range of new ideas to encourage people to take more of an interest in the arts.
Amongst the measures revealed by Minister Franceschini were that state art institutions would be free on the first Sunday of every month! That’s free! For everyone! Every month!!
The list of participating museums etc can be found on the Italian Ministry of Culture and Environment website.
And trust me, there are some gems on the list including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Coliseum in Rome and the Academia Gallery in Venice.
As you can imagine, however, some of the larger museums can get quite busy so some have an online reservations system while others use the old tried and tested first come, first in method. I’d advise you to check the particulars of your chosen venue before you go to make sure you don’t miss out!
It’s also worth mentioning that not every museum takes part. Private and civic museums are not part of the scheme although they have been invited to join in so it’s worth asking – you never know!
Free entry to Italian state Museums
Night at the Museum free tickets
The ministry initiative also announced two annual “Nights at the Museum” when venues will stay open late into the evening, or even through the night. Entrance is set at just a Euro so, again, it’s a great way to get people in through the turnstiles. Many museums such as Florence’s Uffizi Gallery have gone even further and are now operating more flexible, extended opening hours on a weekly basis every Friday evening till 10pm. More details of participating sites can be found on the Ministry of Culture and Environment’s website.
Photography is now allowed in Italian museums
Another major change is that many museums now allow photography as long as you don’t use a flash. So the Doge’s Palace in Venice no longer reverberates to the shouts of “No foto!’ by palace wardens and we are all free to take photos from any angle of Michelangelo’s taught-torsoed Davide in Florence’s Accademia Gallery! Personally, this is a great step forward, as long as visitors don’t forget to actually look at the art as well as photographing their favourite pieces, although be aware that many museums and galleries have banned the selfie stick so always make sure you check before you click!
Don’t touch the artwork
Oh and by the way, whilst Minister Franceschini has removed some of the old barriers to our enjoyment of art, touching sculptures and artwork is still absolutely forbidden in most museums, as is leaving your mark in pen or graffiti so look with your eyes, not your fingers! It seems an obvious thing to say, but tourists have recently been caught carving their names into the Colisseum and have damaged a number of sculptures in their attempts to get photos etc – please be respectful or face the consequences! (The Colisseum vandals were fined € 20,000!)
So as museums and monuments, galleries and gardens all across Italy prepare to throw open their doors for free all that’s left for us to do is check out which one(s) we’re going to visit! Italy not only tops the UNESCO world heritage site list but also has a long and complex history as a conqueror and leader in art circles so your choice is almost endless! Where will you be joining the celebration of art, archeology and all things horticultural? Leave me a note with your recommendations and reviews of your favourite museums or gardens! And next time you’re planning a trip or vacation to Italy, make sure to check the calendar and make a note in your diary for the first Sunday of the month – you could get to see Italy’s priceless art and archeology treasures for free!